In response to an outbreak of oak moth and tussock moth caterpillars, Buildings and Grounds Maintenance sprayed oak trees around Crothers Hall, Branner Hall and Toyon Hall Tuesday overnight.
The diluted “Conserve” solution used on the trees should help protect them from the furry visitors that have already caused trees near Crothers to lose a significant amount of leaves. The University implemented this solution two years ago, but the caterpillar population has continued to spike during spring.
The spray will provide aid to more than just oak trees, according to an email sent out to residents of the affected houses.
“Pedestrians also typically do not enjoy having the caterpillars drop down on them as they walk by, so benefit from this treatment program as well,” wrote Craig Harbick, Crothers Hall front desk coordinator.
The spraying is part of the University’s integrated pest management system implemented this month, which aims to address this seasonal phenomenon of the caterpillar outbreak on campus while causing minimal damage to the environment.
The caterpillars are a devastating natural threat to the local oak trees, according to a pest control notice on the Student Housing website. The University has created a map of which oak trees will be treated, which mostly includes trees in the more urbanized areas of campus since they are likely to attract more caterpillars.
— Ileana Najarro