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Full grown cankerworms are about 1 inch long and vary in color from light green to brownish-green, with a darker stripe running down the middle of the back and a white stripe along each side.

Spring cankerworm

Larvae of this species have three pairs of fleshy legs near the end of the abdomen whereas most other species have only two. By mid- to late June, the cankerworms drop to the ground and pupate in the soil to reemerge in the fall as adult moths.

Two other species of cankerworms, inchworms or loopers which are also pests of hardwoods and apt to be confused with the fall cankerworm are the spring cankerworm, Paleacrita vernata Peck and Bruce spanworm, Operophtera bruceata Hulst. The spring cankerworm feeds principally on elm and maple and may be differentiated by its eggs, which are deposited in the spring in loose clusters on the bark of the trunk and larger branches, and by the number of abdominal legs 2 pair.

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Bruce spanworm, the smallest of the species, prefers maples and poplars and deposits eggs singly on the trunk and larger branches of host trees in late October and November. These eggs turn bright orange in color. Control of this pest can be achieved by spraying the trees with a registered pesticide soon after the larvae first become active and after the leaves have become sufficiently expanded for coverage by the spray. Materials registered to control cankerworms in May or June include the following: carbaryl, acephate, fluvalinate and Bacillus thuringiensis Bt , a microbial product.

Be sure to refer to the pesticide label for specific use instructions.



ASV JPS WBS Nahum There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off; it shall devour thee like the canker-worm : make thyself many as the canker-worm ; make thyself many as the locust. Psalm ; Jeremiah , 17 but RV " canker - worm ".

Restoring what the Locust, Caterpillar, cankerworm & palmerworm has stolen

Many of them are popularly called worms, as the cutworm, cankerworm , army worm Jeremiah , 27 the King James Version; elsewhere " canker - worm " : A name Joel What is left of the palmer-worm, eaten hath the locust, And what is left of the locust, Eaten hath the cankerworm , And what is left of the cankerworm The mature larvae drop to the ground, spin cocoons in the soil, and pupate.

They emerge as adults in October. Adult females are wingless, grayish brown, and about 12 mm long, while the grayish brown, adult male moths have wings with a span of about 30 mm.

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The adult females climb host trees and shrubs, and mate; each female then lays about eggs on the upper twigs and branches. A number of natural agents may control cankerworm populations by affecting the abundance of two species.

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Parasitic insects attack the egg, larval, and pupal stages of cankerworm life cycles, while other predators insects, spiders, birds, and small rodents may attack all the stages. Cold winter temperatures, late spring frosts, starvation, or disease may also cause the collapse of larval populations. Fall cankerworm. The preferred hosts of the fall cankerworm are Manitoba maple and American elm, but it also attacks ash, basswood, bur oak, Siberian elm improperly called Chinese elm , aspen, white birch, and various fruit trees.