Prune away those webs

BACKYARD Q&A

July 12, 1998

Q. I think the Eastern tent caterpillar has returned to my yard. I'm seeing the gauzy-looking nests at the ends of my willow and locust branches. I plan to kill them with diazinon. If I can't reach them all, will they be worse next year?

A. The pest you describe is the fall webworm, not the Eastern tent caterpillar. The webworm, a type of caterpillar, feeds inside silken webs on terminal growth and causes only minor damage.

Put away the diazinon, because it will kill the many different predators and parasites that control this pest. Instead, bring out the pole pruners. Snip off the webs and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.

You can also spray young webworms with one of the following safe insecticides: B.t., insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. These insecticides don't have much effect on the adult pests.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For more information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call 800-342-2507, or visit its Web site at www.agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic.

THIS WEEK'S CHECKLIST

Give your cucumber plants something to climb on. They'll reward you with long, straight cukes, free from rot and slug damage.

Extend the life of your garden hose by allowing water to drain out of it after you turn off the spigot.

Pub Date: 7/12/98

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