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Gypsies, Lamb's and Leaves

By May 9, 2009

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Gypsy (moth) adult females are 1”, heavy-bodied and unable to fly while males are smaller, darker in color and strong fliers. Larvae, up to 2.5“ long, have greyish-brown bodies with blue and red dots on their backs and hair tufts, (think transplants).

What Damage Do Gypsy Moths Cause?

They feed voraciously on deciduous and conifer trees and shrubs, eventually killing the plant if left uncontrolled.

How Can Moths Be Controlled?

These insidious pests of the forests can be controlled by attracting predators such as tachinid flies, ground beetles and parasitic wasps. Also, Gypsy Moths depend on hitchhiking to be spread, so all camping gear should be checked before and after use for a fuzzy yellow covering, indicating egg masses are present. In addtion, phermone traps can thwart males from mating and applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var.Kurstaki will kill larvae. One effective preventive practice is to wrap burlap tree bands around gypsy moth-susceptible fruit and shade trees.

Lamb’s (Quarters) is an odorless, branching, annual herb, with early leaves that are roughly diamond-shaped and somewhat toothed toward the point, and later leaves that are narrow and toothless. First introduced to the U.S. from Europe as a pot-herb, it not only is edible, (use a field guide or local expert to positively identify the plant), but this "weed" attracts soldier beetles which dine on aphids, caterpillars and grasshopper eggs and tachinid flies which eat gypsy moth larvae. In addition, this versatile weed provides food to butterflies, the darlings of the garden who work as pollinators.

and Leaves, (Repellent, that is)

Cats, fleas and beetles will Rue the day this plant joins the garden while slugs will slime in the other direction and moths and flies will leave rather than confront Wormwood.
Inviting Lavender to your next picnic, whether in Provence or Poughkeepsie, will cause fleas to flee and flies to fly while the juice from crushed catnip leaves may spare your bare arms and legs from mosquito bites.

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