Related topics

Maine tree warden to measure effect of parasitoid flies

November 30, 2020 GMT

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (AP) — Cape Elizabeth’s tree warden has announced that the town will not band trees against the invasive winter moth this winter, in order to measure the progress of the release of parasitoid flies by the Maine Forest Service.

In recent years, Cape Elizabeth’s trees have been among the hardest hit by the moth, losing 300 acres of oak trees to winter moth caterpillars that destroy tree foliage, the Portland Press Herald reported.

To prevent defoliation, public and private property owners have banded or wrapped tree trunks with barriers designed to prevent female moths from climbing the tree and laying eggs on branches.


Since 2013, the Maine Forest Service has introduced thousands of parasitoid flies to combat winter moth populations in Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Portland, Peaks Island, Harpswell, Kittery, Vinalhaven and Boothbay. A parasitoid is a species of insect larvae that kill their host.

“I think the parasitic releases are having an effect,” Todd Robbins, Cape Elizabeth’s tree warden, said.

Robbins said he did find “a few holes” in the leaves of trees the moths target.

“I felt it was a good time, from a town perspective, to take an observational year and see how our trees do without integrated pest management,” Robbins said.