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Winter Moths: Tree warden asks residents to report larvae sightings

Click image to report winter-moth sightings using our online form, or contact Tree Warden Todd Robbins,

After a long, hard winter, spring is coming to Cape Elizabeth and that means it's time to keep an eye out for winter moths.

Mother's Day, or maybe a little later, is the time of "full leaf out" in Cape Elizabeth, said town Tree Warden Todd Robbins. It's also the time when the larvae of winter moths do their damage, defoliating host trees in some cases to the point where they are forced to leaf a second time. Repeated defoliation kills the trees.

Robbins is asking residents to report high concentrations of larvae to help combat destruction of the host trees.

The larvae, offspring of the pesky brown moths that clouded porch lights and street lamps last fall appear as small, green caterpillars on trees where female moths laid their eggs in the fall.

Robbins directed an effort to band hundreds of trees on town property last fall, including many in Fort Williams Park, with a sticky substance designed to keep flightless females from climbing trees to lay their eggs. Soon it will be time to see how these efforts paid off.

Residents wishing to report larvae sightings, or other information about preventive or other winter moth activity, are asked to fill out our online form, and/or contact Robbins directly, 207-756-4113 or