Some Steinbach residents are reporting small clusters of forest tent caterpillars in their trees. Russ Dyck, head of Parks and Recreation, says they have seen a few of the caterpillars on city trees but adds, at this point, it's nothing to be concerned about. He notes the pests are cyclical and they have been expecting a larger infestation for some time now.
"We've heard for the last couple of years that we're back on an up cycle but we didn't really see much last year either. We had minimal infestation and damage so we didn't really apply any pesticides or anything. We let nature take its course."
Dyck says the caterpillars can strip a tree of its leaves but notes the foliage will grow back.
"They'll feed on the leaves and, if a tree is defoliated like that, it's usually not a big deal for the tree, if it's otherwise healthy, to regrow the leaves shortly thereafter. If it happens a couple of times in one year, the tree gets pretty stressed out I suppose but, typically, one stripping is what happens and then the leaves do grow back."
He adds, if people want to get rid of the caterpillars, they can spray them with Raid or Malathion. For people who want a more environmentally-friendly product, Dyck says they can use DiPel which is sprayed on the leaves which are then ingested by the pests, causing them to die.