The first step in keeping caterpillars off trees is to determine which trees or groups of trees you want to protect from indoor trellis. You may need to prepare for constant attention to these selected areas as a way to maintain a caterpillar free zone.To keep caterpillars off your trees, you can use a broom or a water hose to knock them down. This should be taken as a daily method to controlling your caterpillar problem, as letting caterpillars stay will only further the damage to your trees and nearby foliage.
Insecticide can be used to control your caterpillar infestation. However, make sure you read and understand the labels and take proper precautions with pets, children and yourself while handling these chemical products. There are different types of insecticides you can buy that work in different ways, so make sure you speak to a professional about which chemical would work best with your trees.
Insecticide Free Methods
If you’re looking for a method that uses no insecticides and you’re not afraid of getting a little dirty, try picking out caterpillar cocoons from your trees and house in late spring. This way you can rid your trees and home of caterpillars before they have a chance to hatch and spread even more around your property. Look for white cocoons in your trees. Pick them off the branches and destroy them by either crushing them and placing them in a canister filled with soapy water, mixing them into compost, burning or burying them. If the caterpillars are tent caterpillars and have already hatched, you can still dispose of them sans insecticide by removing their tent in the early morning or late evening, when the caterpillars are contained in one area. To get rid of tent caterpillars, snatch the tent and place it in a sturdy garbage bag. If the tent is high in a tree, try using a long pole to get as much of the tent as possible. Leave the filled garbage bag to sit in the sun for a few hours before handing it off to the trash collectors.
Another insecticide free way to control and eliminate caterpillars is using the sticky band method. This entails purchasing a relatively inexpensive sticky material designed for exactly this purpose, and placing it around the trunk of your tree. A band of duct tape or tin foil slathered in vaseline or Tanglefoot will also do the trick. This way, the sticky band will prevent caterpillars from leaving their colony, as well as detaining caterpillars returning to the nest. Depending on the size of your caterpillar infestation, this method will greatly diminish the number of caterpillars in your trees and may even completely rid your property of their presence. For added security, trim trees so that the branches aren’t touching other trees or your home in order to stop caterpillar migration.