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Tree Banding to Prevent Cankerworms

13 November

What are Cankerworms?

Cankerworms, commonly known as inchworms, are small creatures that crawl up trees while eating it, leading to damage to the leaves. The worms reproduce by laying eggs that hatch on the plants leaves, causing the leaf to fall away from the plant. The resulting larvae feed on the new protruding leaves for food in order for their survival.

Often, cankerworms can be observed falling from silky-smooth thread from trees. The larval of the worms is the most active stage, which exists for a period of between four to five weeks in initial spring weather conditions.  During this period, the worms will climb and cover other trees, as well as structures on the property.  The impacts of the presence of cankerworms can range from a slight nuisance to a major damage event, leading to possible tree death.

Tree Banding for Prevention

Banding of a tree is the procedure of creating a barrier across the tree trunk to preclude insects, including worms, from reaching the treetop and the leaves. It is the most effective method of reducing cankerworms and protecting the tree. Banding should be done to trees taller than twenty feet in November and early December to prevent female cankerworms from laying eggs at the leaves.  The banding should be removed from the tree in early spring in order to prevent unintended damage to the tree.

Banding materials vary and can usually be purchased from local hardware stores or home improvement centers.  Kits are available for homeowners.  Professional tree services may also provide this service.

Banding is an environmentally friendly and cost effective method of doing away with infestations around your home.  Teaming up with neighbors to reduce area cankerworm population levels is recommended.