Spongy moth control update and free prevention demonstrations

By Staff

June 7th, 2022



Spongy moth, commonly known as the gypsy moth or Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD), is an invasive pest

The spongy moth, commonly known as the gypsy moth or Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD), is an invasive pest that is a nuisance and can cause damage to trees in Burlington and throughout many parts of Canada.

Each year, the City’s Forestry team and other forestry experts survey public trees and woodlots within Burlington for these pests to determine the risk of damage to the trees. Last year, the surveying found the number of egg masses on trees were reduced from previous surveys and within limits that do not warrant an aerial spray application. The City of Burlington did aerial spraying in 2019 and 2021 which has been very successful in reducing this infestation and for 2022 will be focusing on area specific methods to address these pests.

In some areas around the City has placed either “sticky bands” or “burlap bands” around their preferred trees to help prevent the caterpillars from crawling up the trunk to the tree’s canopy.

Most trees can survive an infestation of spongy moth caterpillars and will be able to regrow new leaves without having permanent damage done.

Residents and property owners can also do this on their trees to help reduce the spongy moth’s population.

Free Burlap Banding Demonstrations
Residents and tree enthusiasts are welcome to attend a free “burlap banding” demonstration that will be held at three parks in Burlington on June 11. A forestry expert will show participants the materials needed and the steps to create the simple, yet effective method of burlap banding.

Burlap banding is an effective way to help reduce the population and damage done by spongy moths.

Registration is not required. Demonstrations will happen rain or shine.

Session #1
Location: Kilbride Park, 2175 Blessington St.
Time: 8:30 a.m.

Session #2
Location: LaSalle Park. 50 North Shore Blvd.
Time: 10:30 a.m.

Session #3
Location: Sherwood Forest Park, east side. Enter from Fothergill Boulevard, off Burloak Drive
Time: 12:30 p.m.

A moth eating its way through a leaf.

About the spongy moth
Spongy month, previously known as the European Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar dispar, is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. It was first discovered in Ontario in the 1960’s and has been a major defoliator of deciduous and coniferous trees across Southern Ontario.

Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management program
As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, when natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will regrow leaves again by mid-summer.

Aerial spraying for gypsy moths.

The City of Burlington last conducted an aerial spraying program for spongy moth caterpillars in 2019 and 2021. Program frequency is determined as part of the City’s Integrated Pest Management program.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry who has made it through a couple of dozen Standing Committee meetings with his shirt still on his back.  Burlington is really hard on the forestry people. Robinson said: “Our Integrated Pest Management program looks at multiple factors to decide if we need to do an aerial spraying with a natural pesticide referred to as BtK. We look at how many egg clusters are on the trees in the fall, whether the wooded area is healthy enough to handle a normal cycle of caterpillars and if the area was sprayed the year before.”


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1 comment to Spongy moth control update and free prevention demonstrations

  • Len Collins

    How about some written insturctions on how to Burlap a tree for those of us who cant attend a live demo?