Oak Bay municipal arborist Chris Paul applies a sticky glue to a band of tape on a tree on Monteith Avenue in Oak Bay. The glue traps the invasive winter moths that are traveling up the tree and prevents them from laying eggs, which spawn larva that can kill a tree. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay municipal arborist Chris Paul applies a sticky glue to a band of tape on a tree on Monteith Avenue in Oak Bay. The glue traps the invasive winter moths that are traveling up the tree and prevents them from laying eggs, which spawn larva that can kill a tree. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

VIDEO: The sticky truth about winter moths and how Greater Victoria arborists fight them

Winter moths have ‘killed a lot of trees’ across the region, says Oak Bay arborist

Odd looking bands with a sticky glue on them adorn many trees across Greater Victoria this time of year.

They serve as a preventative measure to trap winter moths and prevent them from laying eggs in the tree canopy.

October and early November is the crucial time to apply a new band and glue as the winter moth females, which look like a moth but are flightless, dance up the tree.

It’s a successful strategy but also an onerous task.

“They’ve killed a lot of trees in Oak Bay [and Greater Victoria] and the bands really do stop them,” said Oak Bay’s municipal arborist Chris Paul.

READ MORE: Invasive honeybee-eating hornets found in Nanaimo

The winter moth showed up a few decades ago and began taking down Garry oaks and other trees in the region.

During the fall, the females travel up the tree and, through a mating process with males, eggs are laid in the canopy near the leaf buds.

Come spring, the larva on an infested tree will devour the entire new growth of leaves. Then they will repel down and pupate in the grass. Most trees recover with a second flush of leaves but after a few cycles, it depletes the tree of its reserve stores and it progressively stresses the tree, and can kill it.

Paul has put hundreds of bands on trees and has tried various strategies.

“They aren’t a true caterpillar, they’re more like an inch worm with legs,” he said. “The females can’t fly, they walk up the tree. The males fly up and meet them.”

The non-toxic sticky glue is available at nurseries and is about $20 for a jar. Oak Bay gets theirs from Borden Mercantile. Paul apples it with a paint mixer.

Paul uses a thin layer of foam and tightly bound packing tape to force the winter moth on to the outside of the tape, which is slathered in the sticky glue. Alternatively, he has used a cardboard based wrap, though he finds they deteriorate quickly under the Victoria’s acute, heavy fall rain.

“The sticky glue can also be applied directly but it creates a black smear on the bark that lasts for many, many years,” Paul said.

In Paul’s experience he’s learned that banding is particularly effective on stand alone trees.

“If you have a lot of trees you have to band them all because they’ll travel through the canopy,” Paul said. “They can repel down onto the branches of other trees.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Air Canada Jazz flight 8075 on Nov. 18 and 8081 on Nov. 19 from Vancouver to Victoria have been added to the BCCDC flight exposure list. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposures reported on two flights from Vancouver to Victoria

Air Canada Jazz flights on Nov. 18, 19 have been added to BCCDC exposure list

Sidney and Central Saanich fire crews responded to a small fire at Eurosa Farms Tuesday evening. (Courtesy of Ryan Worsfold)
Small fire extinguished at Brentwood Bay flower farm

Family-run business sprang into action after smelling smoke at Eurosa Farms

The Grinch was spotted on a tractor in Metchosin Monday morning, an early welcome for the holiday season. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTO: Grinch arrives early for the holidays in Metchosin

Send your favourite Christmas decorations to Black Press Media

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event. The public is invited to drop off donations drive-thru style at either West Shore high school on Dec. 1, 3, 8 and 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
10,000 Tonight gets a pandemic twist with West Shore students continuing the tradition

Students still collecting donations but for four evenings this year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Island connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

Most Read