In early fall, it is recommended to wrap the trunk of Maple trees with plastic wrap upon which we apply a thick film of Tanglefoot, an organic resin that remains very sticky over the winter. This creates a “sticky band” with the main purpose of preventing the Winter Moth, the adult form of the Spanworm, from reaching the tree canopy. Female Winter Moths are wingless, so they have to climb the trees to reach the branches where they lay their eggs under lichens and in cracks and crevices of the tree bark. In early spring, the eggs hatch and the larvae or Spanworm emerge to feed on new leaf buds and flowers. Later in spring, the full-grown caterpillars will drop to the ground and pupate in the soil until fall.
In addition, the sticky band can help protect trees from other potentially damaging pests such as aphids, ants, and caterpillars. The sticky bands are removed in the early spring.