Tiny is experiencing an infestation of gypsy moths which are an invasive insect. Despite the successful use of insect predators, as well as fungal and viral controls, gypsy moth populations do occasionally reach outbreak levels. According to the Severn Sound Environmental Association these infestations occur every 10-15 years and typically last only a year or two.
Gypsy Moth caterpillars are dark and hairy, with five pairs of blue dots and six pairs of red dots on the back. They feed on a wide range of coniferous as well as deciduous trees, but show a preference for oak trees. Caterpillars begin by chewing small holes, but as they mature can completely strip a tree of its leaves depending on their age and population. High levels of gypsy moth caterpillars can cause trees to experience severe loss of leaves, which could cause them to enter a state of decline and make them more susceptible to further harm from other insects, diseases, and weather fluctuations.
What can we do?
September to beginning of May: Scrape gypsy moth egg masses off of trees. Soak them in soapy water for a minimum of 48 hours to destroy them.
May to Mid-August: Burlapping: Install burlap wraps around tree trunks and then collect and destroy the caterpillars, pupae, adults, and egg masses. Once moths have hatched, pheromone traps are an effective way of reducing the adult male population. Check local hardware stores for supplies of traps and pheromones.
End of June-Mid-August: Collect, crush or otherwise destroy pupae/cocoons when you see them.
Beginning of May- Mid June: Consider chemical treatments such as Btk-based products or TreeAzin; however, they are extremely time sensitive for them to be effective at controlling gypsy moth. Btk is normally applied through aerial spraying.
This information is from the City of Toronto Gypsy Moth FAQs – read the full text here
Tiny Township Gypsy Moth Update October 2019
Simcoe County Gypsy Moth webpage
More information here.