Tent caterpillars attack Regina
An earlier than normal spring is to blame for early infestation
An earlier and warmer spring than normal has led to the early arrival of some things that are not so welcome.
Trees in some Regina neighbourhoods are being ravaged by tent caterpillars.
Tent caterpillars, not to be confused with cankerworms, like to clump together and defoliate trees. They have a preference for ash, poplar and fruit trees.
This year's infestation has been prevalent in newer areas of Regina like Harbour Landing and The Creeks where the trees are smaller.
Russell Eirich is manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture for the city.
"Probably the warm spring has allowed the eggs to hatch a little bit earlier than normal," he said. "That's why we are seeing this now."
Eirich noted the caterpillars have thrived and are of a size not normally seen until June.
They are mostly a nuisance at this stage, but Eirich added that if this becomes a trend over three or four years there may be a concern for the health of a tree.
City ready to strike back
The city is set to hit the streets next week with heavy artillery to combat the insects.
A truck they call the worminator will attack the caterpillar infestation head on while dealing with cankerworms at the same time.
They will spray trees with an environmentally friendly organic product known as Btk, Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki.
"It's a bacterium they spray onto the leaves," Eirich said. "As these worms continue to eat the leaves they ingest it and that's what kills them. It will not harm birds or other insects."
Eirich said home owners who wish to do so can deal with the crawling critters by simply squishing them.
For larger infestations, you can pick up a commercially prepared Btk spray at a home and garden centre.