If you been near Richmond Park in Grand Rapids you may have noticed duct tape wrapped around trees. It's not from someone pulling a prank, there actually a good reason why.

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Grand Rapids is battling an infestation of spongy moths, an invasive species formerly known as gypsy moths.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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These destructive pests can defoliate trees, leaving them vulnerable to diseases that could potentially kill them.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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To combat this threat, the city is urging residents to take action by wrapping duct tape around tree trunks.

Protecting Trees with Duct Tape

The duct tape works as a barrier, preventing spongy moth caterpillars from climbing up the trees and feasting on the leaves.

In late spring, spongy moth eggs hatch, and the tiny caterpillars emerge.

As the caterpillars grow larger, they feed on leaves at night and resting on tree trunks during the day.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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By wrapping duct tape around the trunk, sticky side out, the caterpillars become trapped when they attempt to climb back up the tree after their daytime rest.

This method can significantly reduce the number of caterpillars feeding on the banded trees, minimizing defoliation and protecting the trees' health.

What You Can Do To Help

The City of Grand Rapids shared tips on how to deal with a tree affected by spongy moth.

  • Water the tree(s) throughout the summer to help with leaf regrowth
  • Remove egg masses and wrap trees with a barrier
  • Treat the tree(s) with an insecticide like B.t. caterpillar and webworm control
  • Contact a local forester for treatment options.
  • Report sightings of spongy moth to 311

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