Orange Striped Oak Worm is a seasonal pest in the Charlotte area that primarily feeds on Oak trees. They generally hatch/emerge in mid-late July and feed into August. They hatch as yellowish worms with black heads and pronounced horns (look like antennae). As the larvae develop, they turn black with yellow/orange stripes, reaching almost 2″ in length. These worms gather in clusters and defoliate isolated branches within a canopy, leaving only the mid-vein of the leaves. The frass (poop) often stains sidewalks, driveways, patios, and other hardscapes. This pest can be easily controlled with a foliar spray (if tree is under 40′ tall) or a systemic insecticide drench (for larger canopies or if potential drift is an issue). Both control methods are effective if applied in the early stages of the life cycle. As with most insect/disease issues, early detection is the key to a successful mitigation program. This growing season has presented unique trends with temperatures, bloom periods, and insect/pest life cycles. Many pests are emerging earlier than past seasons which makes early detection challenging without periodic inspections. Orange Striped Oakworm has been identified in Charlotte this week; therefore, now is the critical time to begin monitoring your trees for this pest. Feel free to contact your Heartwood Arborist Representative with any questions or concerns, or to schedule a tree health assessment.