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Global Forests -
Little Known or Interesting Factoids About Trees and Tree Physiology

Karen Rockoff is the primary contact 
Jim is in the hospital & will take calls through Karen.

Karen Rockoff is the only ISA certified
arborist with 
oakwilt.com.

BEWARE- There are other persons fraudulently representing Oakwilt.com. These persons are not authorized or licensed to use the oakwilt.com name or inject with the chemjet system. Please contact Karen Rockoff immediately if these persons attempt to solicit these services. 

Contact:  Cell: 830.955.0304
                     Karen Rockoff  Arborist  - TDA Certified
email:
klrockoff@yahoo.com
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Oakworms   

Orangestriped Oakworm, Anisota senatoria (J. E.  Smith)
Pinkstriped Oakworm, Anisota virginiensis(Drury)
Spiny Oakworm, Anisota stigma (Fabricus)

        

Note: We have included many detailed photos on this page
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Importance. - These oakworms occur throughout the United States.  The first indication of their presence is often fecal pellets on the driveway or sidewalk under an oak tree. They are voracious feeders, and where abundant,  quickly strip the trees of their foliage. Since defoliation takes place in  late summer to fall, however, forest stands of white and red oak are  generally able to survive with only minimal growth loss or crown dieback.  The greatest damage is the aesthetic impact and nuisance the caterpillars  create in urban areas. As the caterpillars mature, they are often seen crawling along sidewalks and driveways, yards, etc. searching for a place to pupate.

Identifying the Insect. - The larvae of the  orangestriped oakworm are black with eight narrow yellow stripes, the  pinkstriped oakworm larvae are greenish brown with four pink stripes, and  the spiny oakworm larvae are tawny and pinkish with short spines. Eggs are white, but become pinkish to brownish gray before hatching. Larvae  are about 2 inches (50 mm) long and have a pair of long, curved "horns".  The adult moths are a similar yellowish red, with a single white dot on  each of the forewings.

Full-grown orangestriped oakworm caterpillars.

Identifying the Injury. - Young larvae feed in groups,  skeltonizing the leaf. Later they consume all but the main veins and  usually defoliate one branch before moving onto another. Older larvae are  less gregarious and can be found crawling on lawns and the sides of  houses.

Biology. -There are 5 instar stages that mature in May or early June. These first generation adalts females moths oviposit eggs clusters in June and July. The deposited egg clusters are of several hundred eggs on the underside of leaves that eggs hatch within a week, and the larvae feed during July to September for  5 to 6 weeks. The pupae overwinter in the soil. The orangestriped and  spiny oakworms have only one generation per year, while the pinkstriped  oakworm has two generations.  Second-generation moths occur in October and November when they oviposit eggs that hatch into overwintering larvae. There are 2 to 3 generations  year. 

 Control. - Natural enemies generally prevent           widespread defoliation. Chemical control may be     needed for high value trees.  The best way to treat your plants for worms is with Bacillus Thuringiensis or Bt. ( a biological control agent that only targets and kills the pest ).  Also known in garden centers under the brand name Thuricide, Cry-Maxx or Despel. It is an organic product, though use standard application precautions just to be safe.  It targets kills caterpillars (worms) and not most beneficial insects. 

 How Bt. works:  The Bt. disrupts the insects' digestive systems and they starve. Bt. is specific to certain pest insects, can be used with nematodes, and is completely environmentally safe. It will not harm birds or aninals. Crops can be harvested the day after any Bt. variety is applied. 

 
   
 

Orangestriped oakworm larva.
Photo by James Solomon

 
 
 
 

Pinkstriped oakworm larva.
Photo by James Solomon

   
 

Spiny oakworm larva
Photo by Gerald Lenhard

 
 
         
          Spiny Oakworm Larva
 
           
 

       

 
       
 Taken from Insects and Diseases of Trees in the South, USDA Forest Service - Southern Region,   


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