Budworm infestation to hit the U.P.

One of the most destructive native insects is currently destroying state lake trees and it’s headed our way.

The Spruce budworm is a tiny caterpillar that lives on trees in the winter. The white spruce and balsam fir are in the most danger. If you notice your trees top browning, you may have been, bug–wormed.

“As soon as the shoots start expanding in the spring, it starts chewing needles off and webbing them to the end of the branches and they are green until about this time. But then in two weeks they brown all at once and people think what is happening to my trees all at once but really it has been fed on now for about two weeks. A tree can turn brown but it is just because all of those web needles are on there, don’t over–react to it. One, don’t look at your tree until the fall, once those needles have fallen off and you see how many green needles you have. Second, you the budworm is going to be finished feeding here in a week or two,” said Bob Heyd, Forest Health Specialist, DNR.

Older trees are the most susceptible, younger trees have a greater chance of survival. This epidemic only happens every thirty to fifty years and although rare, it’s not necessarily all bad.

“The good news is, this is how this resource regenerates so you will get a lot of songbirds moving into the area, a lot more browse for deer or moose because of the new stuff coming up so there are a lot of positives that go along with it,”  continued Heyd.

If you notice the caterpillar like budworm on your trees, you should spray immediately. Biological sprays with Bt or any garden variety insecticide used for killing caterpillars can be used.