photo: spring Cankerworm

March 29th, 2004
War of the Roses

For the last two years, after I acquired a dozen or so heirloom roses, I’ve spent the thirteenth week of the year battling a little green inchworm–spring cankerworm. As the cedar elm and oak trees leaf out, it floats down on a silken thread until it finds the tenderest new leaves, mostly those on the roses or the flower buds of the lilies. It exudes a sticky web and curls the leaves around it, munching away happily. In stage 2, it acts rather like a hornworm, munching leaves along a branch, denuding it.
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