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The annual family reunion

Do you get tired of going to annual family reunions?  Do you just sit around, eat too much and look at a bunch of people who
look like you do? 

This doesn't seem to bother the spruce budworm.  They are holding their 46th annual reunion in Minnesota this year.  A limited
head count (larval survey) was done in Region 2.  Again, the main body of the reunion is in Itasca, Koochiching and St Louis counties.  Attendance was up somewhat this year in Itasca County (the number of larvae increased over numbers counted in 1998).  Numbers were down in some stands in NW St Louis and in Koochiching Counties but remained steady, at high levels, in others. 

As of June 14th ,the picnic lunch portion of the reunion was almost over.  Most larvae were in the 6th and final instar.  Depending on location, between 10-50% of the populations in Region 2 were in the pupal stage preparing for their departure flights in early July. 

FTC defoliation and then what?

After all the hoopla, heartache and hype about forest tent caterpillar in May and June, what will happen in  July? 

First, the caterpillars.  In late June, they spun-up their cocoons and created their pupae inside rolled leaves.  They metamorphosed into moths and began emerging as early as July 1st.   Moths will continue to emerge, mate and lay eggs into
mid-July.  Then they?re gone...........until next year. 

Secondly, the people.  The mess and nuisance are over for the year.  Here's a tip for those of you who had the misfortune to
be in a defoliated area this year.  During the moth flight (first two weeks in July), you may want to shut off all the night and yard lights.  FTC turn into moths and, as you know, moths are attracted to lights.  By keeping it dark,  you may help to minimize the number of egg-laying moths immigrating from neighboring areas 

Lastly, the trees; basswood, aspen and oaks.  Since the hungry caterpillars disappeared, the trees were able to grow and keep their leaves. Basswood and oak quickly releaf while birches and aspens are slower to refoliate.  They?re greening up and by the end of the month, should look pretty good and be doing what trees do best. They?ll be able to create sugars and starches to store for next spring, create more rootlets and form buds for next year.