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Stripped caterpillar )
Nothing bugs us more in the summer than, well, bugs. We all have to contend with insects but, fortunately, there are experts and weapons readily available.
One of the top predators at this point in the season is the Japanese beetle which invades rose bushes and other plants.
"There are solutions such as sprays as well as Japanese beetle traps to catch them so you don't have to use sprays and chemicals," says Mark Altmannsberger, garden manager at Page Hardware & Appliance Co.
A Japanese beetle is like an Asian lady beetle, brought to this country many, many years ago. Explains Altmannsberger: "Basically it's a larva from a grub. The beetle lays eggs in the soil and the eggs hatch into a grub and then the grub winters over. Come July, the grubs hatch into beetles. Beetles feed off of your plants during the month of July. Then there's the process of laying the eggs again and the eggs hatch again into the larva which winter over. "
One word -- yuck.
Another problem is the gypsy moth caterpillar that, he says, hasn't been around for many years, but is making a comeback. While not an epidemic, this is still a "big problem."
Altmannsberger explains, "Again, the moth lays the eggs on the trees, the eggs winter over, and finally the eggs hatch into these caterpillars. They really like to get into hardwoods such as oaks and maples, and they feed off of the foliage. "
The caterpillars come down from the trees during the day because of the heat and then they crawl back up. There's a product called Tanglefoot, that has been used for many years as a preventative measure. Altmannsberger says, "It's like putty so caterpillars get stuck in it and it keeps them from getting back into the trees."
Another solution for keeping them off the trees is to put up double-sided tape on your tree trunks so that when they crawl back up, the caterpillars get stuck in the tape. "This prevents the caterpillars from getting back into the foliage and harming your trees," he says.
There is also a gypsy moth trap that catches the moth. If you kill the moths, you prevent them from laying eggs.
According to the garden manager, "Depending on what the winter brings, the eggs could winter over and become a bigger problem in the future." Gypsy moths, he says, made the news in Branford and North Branford. "Although they're not an epidemic, they might be a bigger problem next year."
Then there are garden pests such as tomato hornworms, squash beetles, and cucumber beetles. "There are various sprays and controls for that as well," he says.
For customers asking for organic products there are pyrethrins which come from Chrysanthemum flowers. Another organic form of insecticide available is insecticidal soap made from potassium fatty acids.
There are controls for ticks as well. Page's offers both sprays and granular forms that work well. "You just apply granular to the lawn areas and sprays to the bushes," Altmannsberger explains.
"What it comes down to is if you take care of the problems this summer and we have a milder winter, there's less chance of problems happening next summer," says Page's pest preventer expert.
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