Keep caterpillars out of trees using sticky barrier bands

Late April is the time to put up sticky barrier bands around your landscape trees. Immediately after hatching, spongy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars disperse on silken threads and many will fall out of the trees. Barrier bands help prevent caterpillars from returning to the trees and help reduce damage from feeding. View directions to make a sticky barrier band trap using simple household materials. Monitor these each day and sweep caterpillars trapped below the barrier band into a bucket of soapy water.

Recently, similar sticky-band trapping methods (for the invasive spotted lanternfly) have caused concerns for birds in Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic states.  To help reduce risks to birds, consider placing chickenwire or mesh screening over the sticky bands to prevent birds from contacting the sticky surface.  See this page for additional info about preventing bird contact.

Two important notes: 1) be aware that trees with deep furrows in the bark allow caterpillars to sneak behind the barrier band and hide.  2) Do not put the sticky material directly on your tree.  Insecticides may also be used to help control spongy moth caterpillars at this time of year.

Sticky barriers can be used to trap caterpillars from April into the summer.
Small spongy moth caterpillars that contact the sticky barrier will become stuck.
Photo Credit: Mark Guthmiller, WI DNR.