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Linden Looper

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Linden Looper


Linden looper (Erannis tiliaria) are present from late spring to summer. They produce one generation per year.The linden looper is common on basswood, linden, apple, maple, oak and other trees.


Linden Looper

Linden Looper

The female moth has only rudimentary wings and cannot fly. It is 0.4 to 0.5 inch (10 to 12 mm) long and light gray with two distinct rows of black spots along the back. The light brown male has a wingspan of 1.4 to 1.8 inches (35 to 45 mm) long and has a rusty brown head and bright yellow underside (Fig. 48). The black usually is marked with 10 black wavy lines. Color intensity can vary to the point where some individuals appear uniformly yellow.


Probably widely distributed through the forested areas of the state and also known to occur along the Front Range. Several large-scale outbreaks have been recorded from Colorado involving Gambel oak, chokecherry, and serviceberry. Aspen and narrow-leaf cottonwood are also occasionally attacked, Western Colorado outbreaks in the mid-2000’s were spread over thousands of acres and lasted three or four years.


Early evidences of feeding are small holes in the leaf produced by young larvae feeding on the expanding foliage. Older larvae consume the entire leaf, except the midribs and major veins.


Linden Looper

Linden Looper

Life Cycle: Adult moths emerge in early fall and may be present from late September through October. The winged males fly and mate during the evening. Females are wingless and crawl up the plants where they mate and later lay eggs. The eggs are laid as small masses in bark cracks and other protected areas on the trunk and branches.


Eggs hatch the following spring, shortly after bud break of their host plants and the caterpillars feed on the emerging leaves. Injuries produced by small larvae appear as small pinholes in the leaves but older larvae feed more generally and may entirely consume leaves during outbreaks. Considerable amounts of silk are associated with the larvae which may use it for local wind-blown dispersal. When disturbed the caterpillars also will readily drop from plants on silk strands. Full-grown larvae also drop from the plants and move into the leaf litter to pupate. The pupae remain dormant through summer and adults emerge afterfrosts. A single generation is produced annually.


Linden Looper Larva

Linden Looper Larva

Damage: Young larvae chew small irregular holes in young leaves, skeletonizing the leaves. As they mature, the larvae begin eating larger irregular holes and finally entire leaves, leaving only the major leaf veins. Although low populations do not damage healthy trees, high populations can defoliate whole trees, causing them to expend considerable resources to refoliate.


Many of the loopers spin down from the trees on a strand of silk when they are ready to pupate. These larvae drop onto people, cars and picnic tables and are sometimes considered nuisance pests, although they cause no harm to mammals.


This is the ideal, humane and low-effort method. Set up ultrasonic rodent repellents around the perimeter of the garden, pasture or barn. The devices emit a piercing sound that the rodents cannot stand. Or treat the perimeter with a rodent repellent spray or powder formulated from bobcat urine. This tricks the kangaroo rats into thinking a predator is nearby.Poison the kangaroo rats. Use a water-based poison, because the rodents are drawn to moisture. A standard rodent anticoagulant, which causes uncontrolled internal bleeding, available from a hardware store, is effective. Mix the poison with water according to the manufacturer's instructions, as toxicity varies widely by product. Set the poison out in shallow dishes in problem areas.


Linden Looper

Linden Looper

Control: The eggs and larvae are attacked by insect parasites and predators. Other natural enemies also help in control. Sticky bands placed around the trunks of high value trees can trap the females as they climb the tree to lay eggs. In high use or high value areas, chemical control may be needed.


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