Why band trees?
Gypsy moths and cankerworm moths are what we are trying to prevent from entering the tree canopy to lay their eggs. By banding all trees and applying tanglefoot, especially to elms, maples and ash provides an effective barrier. Spring and fall cankerworms are in the adult stage at different times of year, making the timing of the banding very critical. It is important to band all trees on your property because cankerworms feed on boulevard trees, and after hatching, the larvae can drift on silk threads between different trees. Bands, when applied effectively, can dramatically reduce cankerworm defoliation. After hatching, gypsy moth larvae also use silken threads to drift to host trees. The larvae often end up on the ground and then must climb a nearby trunk to reach the crown to feed. If the tree is properly banded, as the larvae climb the tree, they are captured on the sticky band.
When should you band?
To catch both the spring and fall cankerworms, banding should be installed on the trunk in the early fall or mid September, and left on until early spring or mid May, when the Spring cankerworms have stopped laying. Check the bands in March to make sure they are still sticky, if a band is completely covered in caught insects gypsy and cankerworm moths will simpley climb over your band. It is very important to remove the bands mid May because the band can collect moisture and cause the trunk to rot which can kill the tree.
How to band a tree?
I recommend you buy a kit from a local hardware store or nursery. You will however save some money if you band your trees using household items, here is a short list of materials you will require.
- Fibreglass insulation cut into 6"-8" bands long enough to wrap around the tree
- Shrink wrap or plastic wrap - wide enough to overhang the insulation by 3" on either side
- Packing tape or duct tape
- Staple gun - staples long enough to go through insulation and into the bark of tree
- Tanglefoot, or multipurpose axel grease (both are petroleum products).