Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Forest Tent Caterpillar

A predictable but unwelcome guest has arrived.  Actually it's been here for a few weeks, but it's just become noticeable over the past few days.  The forest tent caterpillar (FTC), commonly but incorrectly called "army worm", is upon us.

Here's a link to a good page published by the Minnesota DNR which describes the FTC outbreak cycle and its effects:

And another from the University of Minnesota Extension:

By the way, much thanks to these two great institutions for the practical information they work hard to provide to our forest based communities!

The photo above and to the right shows a fully grown FTC consuming a Red Oak leaf.  According to U of M Extension and Minnesota DNR, the defoliation of these trees will not hurt them unless it occurs repeatedly and in the presence of other stress factors (drought, off-site, over-mature).  However, loss of foliage does of course negatively impact growth, and we're into growth these days!  So it's a frustration, but one which is predictable and we have to live with it.

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