Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Insect Barriers, Graveyard Grasshoppers, Leaf Footed Bugs & Webworms

617_fig_1_tanglefootjpgTanglefoot ™ is a barrier treatment for crawling insects. Photo:

617_fig_2_Tred_not_slippery_tapejpgTred-Not Slippery Caterpillar Tape ™ is another barrier to crawling insects. Photo:

Insect Barriers

Bess of Anacoco call the AgCenter to ask about a practice to protect her pecan trees from the walnut caterpillar (WC). She described using a rope soaked in oil and tying it around her tree to prevent the caterpillars from crawling up her tree. She called to ask if this method is safe for her tree. The short answer is “no” because oil can penetrate the bark of a tree and cause harm. Some herbicides are mixed with oil to kill unwanted trees by breeching the bark.

A couple of methods are safer for trees and are affordable methods of protection from WC.

A product called Tanglefoot™ is wrapped around a tree, and the caterpillars stick to it until there are so many worms that the other worms will crawl over the dead bodies. Once there are so many caterpillars, then it is time to replace the Tanglefoot. It costs $10 to $20 online.

Another product called Tred-Not Slippery Caterpillar Tape™ is also attached to the tree trunk. It is the opposite of Tanglefoot because it is so slick that the worms cannot crawl up the tree. It costs about $5 online.

617_fig_3_lubber_grasshopperjpgA lubber grasshopper, a harmless native insect. Photo: T.D.S.

Graveyard Grasshoppers

A homeowner in Grant Parish called to complain about the lubber grasshoppers or graveyard grasshoppers. Apparently, this insect is occurring frequently during this season. Dr. Tim Schowalter, an AgCenter insect specialist wrote this description about this grasshopper, “Lubbers rarely cause serious damage, and their saliva is known to stimulate compensatory plant growth. Nevertheless, they can cause economic damage to citrus orchards, vegetable crops, and landscaping vegetation that border natural habitats.”

Dr. Sara Rogers, an AgCenter horticulture specialist, described some treatments for this strange insect, “If there are too many to control by hand-picking, insecticides can be applied. Lubber grasshoppers are not easy to kill, even with insecticides, once they become large. If chemical control is necessary, several insecticides are registered for use on ornamentals to control grasshoppers. They include: Carbaryl/Sevin™ (Drexel Carbaryl™), Cyfluthrin (Decathlon™, Tempo™), Bifenthrin (Talstar™). You likely will have to apply the insecticide directly to the insects; the small amount of insecticide residue remaining on sprayed plants may not be adequate to kill the grasshoppers. Make sure the insecticide used is safe on the plant before spraying and double-check label directions if spraying close to a water body.”

617_fig_4_juveniles_of_the_leaf_footed_bug_attacking_a_green_tomatojpgJuveniles of the leaf-footed bug attacking a green tomato. Photo: Summer Little.

Leaf Footed Bugs

Summer sent a message and a really clear photo of her gardening issue, “I’m coming to you once again for guidance. Can you please identify this bug for me? Thanks as always for helping this newbie!”

Summer has the juvenile forms of the leaf-footed bug (LFB). LFBs cause damage like stinkbugs and deface fruits and vegetables. The good news for Summer is that these young insects are more susceptible to insecticides like Sevin™ or Malathion™. As always, read the labels of pesticides for safe and effective treatments.

617_fig_5_webwormsjpgWebworms infesting a tree. Photo: Lee Rouse, LSU AgCenter.


Karen is concerned about her elderberries and wrote, “There are web worms on the elderberry bushes around our house and behind my mom’s [home]. What can I spray them with? [I] was not sure if I could spray the same thing as I do on mulberries and pears. I appreciate your help. “

Products like Sevin™ and Malathion™ are safe products to use on fruits and vegetables. Products like Dipel™ and Thuricide™ are very safe and can be used on a broad range of caterpillars on a broad range of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and shade trees. At the risk of belaboring a point, please read the labels of pesticides for safe and effective treatments.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

6/18/2020 8:28:48 PM
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