Here is the newest issue of Massachusetts Berry Notes from the UMass Extension Fruit Team.

Massachusetts IPM Berry Blast

April 8, 2015

Winter Moth Update
Heather Faubert, URI Extension

Winter moth eggs are still orange and not ready to hatch. I've checked with cooperating egg watchers, and their eggs are still orange too. Eggs turn blue a couple of days before they hatch.

Last night I compared growing degree days (GDD) recorded on the Weather Channel website with winter moth hatch dates from 2008-2014. Now this isn't very scientific - the weather data may not be accurate; I don't know exactly what temperature is needed for winter moth eggs to advance; and the hatch date may be a little off, but  I think the information could be useful. I found winter moth eggs hatching between 105-152 GDD base 40 when I started calculating GDD on March 1st. Three of those years, eggs hatched within 2 GDD of 114 GDD base 40.

You can check degree days at your location too. See this website:
  • Enter your zipcode
  • Select base temperature 40
  • Select start date - I suggest using March 1st
  • Select end date - use yesterday's date
  • Click on Calculate

I checked a few locations of GDD base 40 for March 1 - April 7:
Bristol                42
Cumberland      32.5
Greenville         32.5
Kingston           39
Middletown       28
Wakefield          33
Warwick            42

Last year for March 1 - April 7 we were 15-36 GDD, base 40, higher than we are this year.  
GDD for April 7, 2014 ranged from 53-80.
Last year was a late spring and this year is later - as if you didn't know!

When eggs start to turn blue, apply an insecticide to protect apple, pear, and blueberry flower buds. I know some landscape trees will sprayed then too. Good insecticides to use for fruit include Imidan, Sevin, Delegate, and Entrust (organic formulation of spinosad). If you have a small number of plants to treat you can purchase a small quantity of spinosad called Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew. It has the same active ingredient as Entrust, but is formulated for home use. It is not certified organic. The landscape formulation of spinosad is Conserve.

Once eggs hatch and the caterpillars climb inside buds, the caterpillars will be protected from insecticide sprays. It doesn't do any good to spray insecticide after caterpillars are inside the buds and the buds aren't  opened. Once buds open and the larger caterpillars start moving around, they are again susceptible to insecticides. After buds open, a Bt product (Bacillus thuringiensis), such as Dipel, is also effective at controlling winter moth caterpillars. Bt doesn't work at egg hatch because the caterpillars don't feed before they enter buds. Bt needs to be ingested to kill caterpillars.

I will alert you when any monitored eggs turn blue! Eggs are being monitored in Westerly, Kingston, Warwick, Cumberland, and Acushnet, MA.

Winter Moth Adult MaleWinter Moth and Spanworm Larvae

See to calculate the Growing Degree Days for your location.  Good bio-indicators are flowering red maples and green tip on Macintosh apples. See for apple. 

Winter Moth eggs hatching from 2012 (credit: H. Faubert, URI)Winter Moth and blueberry bud
Photo credit: Heather Faubert, URI from 2012
For detailed information concerning the biology and management of Winter Moth, visit the following:

Archived IPM Berry Blasts are available at the UMass Extension Fruitadvisor website.
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