You’ve probably seen those weird sticky bands that are around trees come fall and winter. In actuality, “weird sticky thing” is not the proper name, they called a tanglefoot! Heres what a new one looks like:
I know I always grew up wondering what they were, well if you still wonder then you’re in luck because you’re about to become an expert in all things tanglefoot.
What Does it Do?
A tanglefoot is designed to maintain the health of the tree throughout the fall, winter and into the spring bloom. The tanglefoot is a wrap around the tree with a sticky substance spread on it that is made up of tree resins, vegetable waxes, tanglefoot glue and vegetable oils. This creates a barrier that crawling insects will get stuck in, preventing them from reaching the canopy.
What Happens Without One?
Within a diverse floral city such as Vancouver, there are many types of insects which will be foreign to the tree and it will not have evolved natural defenses to these insects. Without a tanglefoot installed, these crawling insects will reach the canopy in the fall time and lay eggs which stay there over the winter. In the spring these eggs hatch and the hatchlings devastate the new growth. Studies have been conducted in Canada and if there are four consecutive years of defoliation, this can lead to either; A) Limb mortality or B) Tree mortality, depending on the severity of infestation.
What Types of Trees Are Affected?
Fear not if you have a coniferous tree. The types of insects prefer deciduous trees. This is due to the the multitude of easily accessible buds and flowers which come about every year in spring. Not only do these harmful insects affect deciduous trees, in particular they affect fruit bearing trees. Apple, blueberry and and other fruit bearing trees can have significantly decreased crops as the insects eat and destroy not only the new buds, but the flowers which turn into fruit.
Pictured Below is a Winter Moth Adult and Caterpillar which is a common insect that Tanglefoot combats.