King helping in fight against spongy moth

Community Services
General News
News Releases
Media Release

King City, Ont. — King Township is helping residents fight the spongy moth this spring with burlap tree wrap giveaway days and by offering helpful tips and online resources at

The spongy moth, known as Lymantria dispar (LDD), is an invasive insect found throughout southern Ontario that feeds on hardwood and some softwood tree species. This moth population surges every seven to 10 years with the increase lasting one to three years.

Evidence of the naturally occurring virus nucleopolyhedrosis—as well as the naturally occurring fungus entomophaga maimaiga—have been detected throughout the municipality, which will contribute to an eventual collapse of the spongy moth population. Both the virus and fungus are harmless to humans.

Spongy moth caterpillars begin to appear in May and become moths in late July or early August. The caterpillars eat leaves, causing trees to lose some or all their canopies. The caterpillars are currently in the egg mass stage.

What residents can do

From now until the end of April, people can manually remove the egg masses by scraping them into a bucket of soapy water. The egg masses should be left in the bucket for two days before disposing of them.

King recommends wearing gloves and long sleeves while removing egg masses. Egg mass removal helps reduce the number of hatched caterpillars in the spring.

What King Township is doing

Township staff are implementing a combination of controls which include manual removal of egg masses on severely infested street and park trees, the use of burlap bands and, when necessary, treating select high-value trees with a biological insecticide.

At this time, manual spraying will only be considered on high-value trees in Township parks that are experiencing severe defoliation. The Township will not be conducting aerial spraying to treat the spongy moth as aerial spraying does not reduce the pest’s population over the landscape in the long term.

Spraying biological insecticides can negatively impact other beneficial caterpillars, moths, butterflies and insects which are an important source of food for many birds and other wildlife species. Racoons, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels and more than 15 species of birds will help to reduce the spongy moth population.

If managing a population becomes unfeasible, private landowners are encouraged to seek a licensed tree care company for assistance.

The burlap kits will be available at the following locations this spring:

Tuesday, April 19 – Friday, April 22

  • King Township Municipal Centre (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, April 20

  • King Township Municipal Centre (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Cold Creek Conservation Area (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.)
  • Nobleton Arena parking lot (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
  • Trisan Centre parking lot (1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

Saturday, April 23

  • Tasca Park parking lot, Nobleton (9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
  • Cold Creek Conservation Area (9 a.m. – 11 a.m.)

Saturday, May 7

  • Schomberg Parks Depot Yard, Western Avenue (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.)


Steve Pellegrini
Mayor, King Township

“King has the most extensive and beautiful tree canopy in York Region. By working together, we can reduce the damage done by spongy moths. We’re helping residents do this by offering free burlap kits to wrap trees, sharing information with the community and providing plenty of online resources at”


Media contact

Jason Ballantyne, communications officer | Phone: 905-833-4573 | Email: