Did you know moths can affect tree health? Learn how the Winter Moth in Southern Maryland can cause damage to your trees and how to prevent it in this guide.
Most people assume that with the cold weather comes the reprieve of insects and moths that flutter about and cause damage to vegetation during the mild weather months.
So, would it surprise you to know the Winter Moth of Southern Maryland is not only alive but is also highly active during the long and cold winter month?
If you see a moth flying about in the cold months in Southern Maryland, there’s a good chance it’s a Winter Moth.
While any moth is pesky, should you be worried? Read on to learn more about the Winter Moth and the damage they can cause to your trees.
What Threat Does the Winter Moth of Southern Maryland Pose?
The Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata), which originated in Europe, can be highly invasive to trees like oaks and maples. You might wonder how a moth can harm a tree in the winter when the tree is dormant and has no foliage for the moth to eat.
The female Winter Moth doesn’t fly, so during the winter months, she crawls up a tree. It’s during this time the female releases a strong pheromone to attract the male moths.
The male Winter Moths vibrate rapidly while flying to stay warm and to seek out the waiting female in the tree.
Where Is the Threat?
So, how do winter moths harm trees? The threat doesn’t come during the winter months.
Instead, once the male and female moth mate, the female will burrow her eggs into the bark of the tree or tree crevices. She lays eggs in large clusters and then dies.
The threat presents itself in the spring as those eggs have turned to caterpillars or inchworms who hatch and are ready to eat.
Symptoms from the Winter Moth
The inchworms that hatch as a result of the eggs the female left in the winter come out in early spring, late March, or early April.
Often this is just when the tree they are living in is budding foliage. The inchworms start eating and can be quite damaging to the foliage of a tree.
If they hatch as the tree is foliating, they can completely defoliate a tree.
If they hatch before there are leaves, they don’t just die. Instead, they lower themselves on silk threads and hope the wind will take them to a better spot for eating.
How to Fix the Winter Moth Problem
The key to winter moth removal is preventing the eggs from hatching the inchworms that start eating.
You should know that if you see a Winter Moth in the fall or winter, even if you don’t see signs in the spring, you should act aggressively.
You want to have your trees sprayed to prevent the eggs from hatching. If they have hatched, you want to spray to kill the moths before they make it to winter and start mating.
A tree service can make sure you get your whole tree treated.
Getting Rid of the Winter Moth of Southern Maryland
If you’re worried you may have the Winter Moth of Southern Maryland, it’s time to contact tree care services.
We are arborists in Southern Maryland and can help you address your Winter Moth problem. Contact us today so we can come to evaluate your trees and get rid of the invasive Winter Moth for you.