2018-11-30 / Community

Tree warden asks residents to report sightings

The town of Cape Elizabeth tree warden is asking residents to be on the lookout for winter moths.

The brown moths that have invaded Cape Elizabeth in recent years are due to begin mating soon and throughout December and January. Evening skies are sometimes thick with them.

“I’m not certain about (moth) mortality rates due to this type of early cold, but it has to be significant ... time will tell,” said Tree Warden Todd Robbins.

Early cold and snow we’ve experienced this season affects the moth larvae’s ability to rise from the ground and begin mating, he said.

“Please encourage residents to communicate their findings so I can compare with last season,” Robbins said.

Last season residents throughout town placed sticky bands around trees to catch female moths as they moved up the trees to find nesting places. This prevents large numbers of offspring from defoliating the host trees in the spring.

Residents have banded trees again this year and the town has also rebanded trees on municipal property.

Robbins has his fingers crossed that this, plus the recent cold temperatures, will diminish the moth’s impact and, with the help of a rising water table this summer and fall, will mean a “banner year” for trees in Cape Elizabeth in the spring.

Residents who want to report moth sightings or other information about preventive or other winter moth activity, are asked to fill out an online form, and/ or contact Robbins directly, 756-4113 or todd.robbins@capeelizabeth.org.

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