McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

October 15, 2012

Redbud leaffolder appearing again

NORMAN — Those leaffolding caterpillars are at it again.

This spring I think every tree in Oklahoma had the problem. But additional generations of the pesky caterpillars are back for a second act this fall.

I can appreciate insects that have been adapting for millennia; creating a folded leaf to hide and feed at the same time is pretty brilliant in my opinion. Some of you may not be as smitten, so let’s talk about some options for control if you have folded leaves on your redbuds.

Like the name, the noticeable injury to a redbud leaf is the folding down of the edge of the leaf onto the upper surface of the leaf. The edge of the leaf is then secured with strands of silk.

In heavy infestations, there may be several areas of the leaf margin folded over. The purpose of the leaffolding is to enable the caterpillar to feed on the upper surface of the leaf, and also serves as shelter for the developing insect. Feeding can lead to browning, dying, and death of the leaves.

The redbud leaffolder winters as a dark brown pupa attached with a loose web to a fallen leaf. Without the leaf, they still may thrive in leaf litter or on the soil surface. Adult leaffolder moths are around a quarter-inch long with a half-inch wingspan. The moth has dark brown wings with 10 small white spots, a white head and collar.

Moths of the leaffolder emerge late spring, laying small, white, oval eggs near leaf veins during the month of May. The first generation of eggs will continue hatching through June, followed by second and third generation eggs laid in late summer to fall. Second and third generation eggs may be laid in a fine web on the leaf.

The damaging stage of the leaffolder is the larvae or caterpillar stage. The young larvae are white, but mature to about half-inch long dark caterpillars with white bands along the back.

Since pupa overwinter on fallen leaves, raking and disposing of dropped leaves this time of year is a sufficient means of control. If you begin noticing damage again next spring, the organic insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is effective against the larval stages of many types of leaf feeding larvae, including leaffolders. Bt is a bacterial based insecticide that kills moth and butterfly caterpillars, but does not harm other beneficial insects, birds, humans, or other organisms.

With Bt, leaffolders will cease feeding within hours after ingesting a sprayed leaf and die several days later. Thorough spray coverage of the tree is required for control and Bt is not waterproof.

Caterpillars must feed on leaves dusted or sprayed with the pesticide to be killed. Bt is most effective on leaffolder larvae when small and sufficient control may require more than one application.

  Tracey Payton Miller is a horticulture extension educator with Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached at 405-321-4774.

 

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.