'Inch worms' threaten to cause heavy damage to Richmond trees - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

'Inch worms' threaten to cause heavy damage to Richmond trees

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Cankerworms, or "inch worms," are expected to make a comeback to the Richmond area for the third year in a row - and that could mean heavy damage to local trees.

"I would say they defoliated thousands of acres in Central Virginia," said David Terwilliger with the Department of Forestry. 

This year, they are back for more. According to the Department of Forestry, the pests that eventually turn into moths as adults seem to be particularly fond of oak trees.

18 traps were set in trees in Bryan Park for several reasons: to try and stop female moths from laying eggs, but also to get an idea of what the population is like.

"In this one particular spot, we had an unusually high amount of adults stuck in the sticky substance," said Terwilliger.

Parks of course aren't the only places affected. Cankerworms can be found in your trees as well. Homeowners have just a short time to protect vulnerable trees. It has to be done when cankerworm eggs hatch... if you wait until you start to see damage to you leaves, it may already be too late. 

Trees can be treated with an insecticide known as B.T. It can be found at several local nurseries, or call a tree service company, if you want to spray it. 

Experts say cankerworms likely won't kill your trees. 

"I think most healthy trees will be fine, but this year, the cankerworms are bad again, some of the older, weaker trees might be adversely affected," said Terwilliger.

For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Forestry website: http://dof.virginia.gov/press/releases/2014/04-08-fall-cankerworm-2014.htm

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

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