RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
Fall cankerworms are expected to return to the Richmond region this month with a vengeance according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
The worms that hang from silken strands and crawl over everything are more of a nuisance. But in areas where infestations are heavy, it could cause extensive tree damage.
"The real problem is the defoliation they can cause," says VDOF's forest health specialist Dr. Chris Asaro in a statement. "Typically, one year of heavy defoliation will not greatly harm an otherwise healthy tree, but with two or three straight years of heavy defoliation, tree death becomes much more common."
Homeowners who wish to protect the trees on their property from fall cankerworms are urged to take action quickly.
Dave Terwilliger, VDOF's area forester in Hanover County, says there's a non-toxic insecticide called B.t. that homeowners can have sprayed on trees to control cankerworm, but it must be applied soon after the cankerworms' eggs hatch to be effective. The best time to do that according to officials is when the host tree's leaves begin emerging. If you wait until you see defoliation, it's too late.
During the past couple of years cankerworm activity has spanned more than 2 million acres in eastern Virginia.