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What is eating my Birch? Can anyone help identify this?

I have two lovely Himalayan Birch trees in the front garden that I planted last year. They are being eaten by these tiny black caterpillars, they are really small. I’ve added three of the grease traps to each tree but they don’t work and the caterpillars just go right through them. There are lots of holes in the leaves already and they only came into leaf last week. I’ve been picking them off individually and getting rid but I can’t get them all.

Can anyone advise what they are and what can be done to control them? We have moved house and never had this problem at our last place so I assume this area must be worse? 

Does anyone else have this problem and are there any varieties of birch that are less susceptible? I.e. would betula pendula the native species be better? We plan to plant more birch in the back garden but I’d rather not be constantly worrying that they are being stripped of all their leaves.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,656
    Hang up some bird feeders in or near the tree.  The adult birds s will then spot the caterpillars and feed them to their nestlings.

    Worked for me in my last garden.  
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • frankgeorge whitchurch shropshire
    hi, I have the same problem but the caterpillars are more green than black. They have infested 3 mature oak trees, several silver birch, and all my fruit trees. They seem to drift on spun webs until they land on suitable feeding plants.  they can be seen hanging down from large trees and can drop onto your clothing if you snag them.
    These occur every year, and although the oak trees do recover, any fruit trees are left bare, and young many other trees lose most of their leaves.
    The pests wrap a leaf around themselves and spin a silk-like cocoon for protection.
    I have found them on acers, roses, japanese cherry blossom and lilac.
    Sorry don't know the answer, but placing bird feeders on the trees would not make any impression on the amount of infestation we suffer.
    Even painting the base of my trees with a thick mastic type substance did not stop the infection, I think the culprits that lay their eggs are airborne
    Any solutions would be gratefully received.
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