Female Gypsy Moth Laying Eggs

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a moth on a tree in the yard.  It took me a couple of seconds to  realize it was a female gypsy moth.

That  gypsy moth was in the middle of laying its eggs.  I could have destroyed it right there and then but decided against it.  I thought  maybe a few readers of this blog might want to see what an egg-laying  gypsy moth looks like.

The brown egg mass it deposited contains hundreds of eggs, most of which will survive the winter and hatch out next spring.  Cold winter weather doesn’t bother them at all. After the caterpillars  hatch from their eggs, they will climb the tree and start devouring leaves.

This female gypsy moth is laying an egg mass that contains hundreds of eggs.

The next time you’re outside enjoying your yard, it might not be a bad idea to look at your trees for signs of gypsy moth egg masses. They normally lay eggs on the trunk of a tree or on lower branches. You can also find them on backyard swing-sets, picnic tables, RVs — just about anything that’s left out side.

It’s a good idea to destroy these eggs masses as soon as you find them.  Scrape them off of the tree and throw them in the trash.  Don’t let them lay on the ground thinking that you took care of them. They’re pretty tough and will hatch even if left on the ground all winter.

Now I have a bit of a dilemma, do I take off that egg mass from my tree? Or do I leave it there until spring and take pictures of hatching caterpillars for this blog?


Helpful Hornets and Wasps in the Garden

I’m not the only one busy in the garden. My helpers, wasps and hornets, are out there too.

Most people look at wasp and hornets as enemies, but in the garden they can be a real help by killing insect pests.

Yesterday I spotted a wasp on a broccoli leaf holding a cabbage worm caterpillar it had just captured. The wasp stung the worm to kill it and was getting ready to fly back to its nest.

Wasps and hornets chew-up caterpillars and other insects and then feed them to their  young larvae.

This hornet is gathering wood fibers from my garden shed. It will use the fibers as raw materials to make its paper nest.

I was happy to see that wasp helping out in my garden. Not only was it harvesting insects from the garden but it also reminded me that there are still plenty of caterpillars around.

I need to do something soon before the cabbage worms do anymore damage my broccoli.  The biological insecticide Bacillus thuringensis is a good choice. It kills caterpillars but is harmless to benificial insects like wasps and hornets.