Ever since the first outbreak of walnut caterpillars last August, homeowners have asked questions about this pest. Here are the most frequently asked question with answers.

·        “I’ve lived here all my life and have not seen these caterpillars before. Where did they come from?”

ANSWER: The walnut caterpillar is a native insect. A range map of the United States indicates that 27 states, mostly eastern, have WC.

·        “Why did they appear now?”

ANSWER: That is a tough question to answer. One part of the answer may be the recent mild winters. Another answer is that insects have population cycles, and the WC was due for an outbreak.

·        “Will they come back?”

ANSWER: Yes, a second and third generation is possible this growing season.

·        “What do I spray to kill them”?

ANSWER: There are plenty of insecticides to kill WC. The problem is: how does a homeowner spray a 75-foot tall tree? However, homeowners can treat the ground under their trees with a dry granular, Arena 0.25G. This product is watered or rained in, and the tree takes it up. Arena will also control fall webworms and other pests in turf.

·        “Will the pecans be any good?”

ANSWER: Probably not. If the trees are leafing out after defoliation, then the tree is placing its energy in surviving. The pecans will either fail to fill out or will abort.

·        “After treating the trees with Arena, will the pecans kill squirrels?”

ANSWER: Arena is a hazard to aquatic invertebrates like crawfish and water bugs. The label on this product has no other information about environmental hazards. However, if the tree fails to make a pecan crop, then the squirrels will be OK.

·        “Is Arena safe for pets?”

The label for Arena says: “Do not enter or allow entry into treated areas during the restricted entry interval (REI) of 12 hours.” This statement means no people or pets on the treatment site, probably your yard, for 12 hours. After 12 hours, access to the yard would be OK.

If you have questions about your pecans and other landscape, trees, garden, yard, forests, or bees, please contact Keith Hawkins, County Agent, 337-463-7006 orkhawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu .