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Grand Rapids forestry division offers tips for residents to help control spongy moth population

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 14:40:29-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — They recently got a new name, but they've been causing the same problems for more than 40 years in Michigan.

The spongy moth is an invasive species with a big appetite.

The caterpillars can significantly defoliate trees and, when that happens, the trees get weaker and more vulnerable to fatal diseases.

But there are ways to keep that from happening.

Grand Rapids officials are sharing some tips to control the spongy moth population in an effort to better protect the city's urban tree canopy.

Watch for egg masses on tree trunks. Remove them from tree trunks using a plastic knife or another dull scraping tool and put them into a cup of soapy water.

Egg masses are about the size of a quarter, but they can contain more than 1,000 larvae.

You can actually wrap duct tape around a tree trunk with the sticky side out to prevent caterpillars from moving up the tree to the leaves.

The city has more information about the spongy moth, including how to identify egg masses, properly remove them, wrap trees and more posted on their website.