Army Worms

Army Worms

Last weekend was the long weekend. Attila spent his time putting in most of the vegetable garden. I spent my time making rhubarb crisp, and cooking. The rhubarb was fresh from our garden, the first produce of the season.

We did make another whirlwind trip out to the camp. I am using “we” again, mostly because Attila continues to involve himself with most of the activities he always involved himself in, just the domestic activities. With both of us being “homebodies”, the domestic covers a lot of ground.

While at the Camp, Attila mowed weeds, there are a lot to mow, and spring is the time to get to them. Ticks and mosquitoes do not like short “grass”, so the weeds are mowed short through the spring. The advantage to this, the third spring of ownership, is that the taller growing plants have mostly died off, and the shorter plants are thriving, including the white clover I planted the first and second spring of ownership. The mowing is getting much easier.

Last summer garlic was planted at the Camp, and it didn’t do well. I assumed it had either been dug up by critters, or died off because the soil it was planted in had a lot of cedar chips in it. Upon arrival at the Camp on the weekend, I was surprised to see the garlic over ten inches high, thriving!

I want as much of a “garden” as possible at the Camp. To this end Attila mounded soil near the area where the garlic was planted, and planted Blue Hubbard Squash. I am hopeful!

While at the Camp I spent my time collecting fallen deadwood around the occupied area, and burning it in a campfire. While tending the fire, I had plenty of time to kill army worms. Last year they attacked the Ash and Elm trees, but this year they are almost exclusively going after the maples. One oak tree was infested.

Army worms in cluster at the camp A colony of Army Worms on a tree at the Rideau Camp.

Army worms at the Camp Army Worms, up close and personal at the Rideau Camp.

My first attempt was to try to eliminate two colonies located on a maple, about 35 feet above ground. I tried the squirt gun, loaded with water, dish soap and bleach, but the worms were out of range. Those colonies were not destroyed. The squirt gun was then tried on a few colonies closer to the ground, it the mixture had little to no effect on the army worms. The clusters increased in circumference, but none of the worms died while we were there. So I reverted to my tall stick, with which I crushed as many of the worms as I could. I spent hours destroying colonies. It was interesting, because these colonies of army worms appeared almost suddenly on the trunks of trees. Areas I had cleared were suddenly teaming with colonies again.

There were two mouse turds in the cupboard in Grace the Trailer, the only evidence of mice I could find. Attila removed them and threw them in the fire, after I had sprayed with hydrogen peroxide. That meant I could proceed in finishing off the spring cleaning in the trailer. The bathroom had an accumulation of moisture, which concerns me. It must be coming up from the on-board septic holding tank. We really need to deal with that. We don’t use the trailer’s water based toilet, we use a composting toilet instead. I spent time with water, soap, and bleach, to clean the bathroom, and left the air vent slightly open in hopes of letting the moisture out over time.

There are no big projects planned for the Camp this year, no funds are available. There are still stumps to be burned, deadwood to collect and burn, and if the swamp dries out this year, I am hoping Attila will take his chain saw in and remove some of the fallen dead trees. The Camp becomes more park like every summer.

At the Camp there were still lots of Trilliums blooming. The Trout Lilies either did not bloom this year, or we missed it entirely, as I didn’t see one blooming Trout Lily. There were Wild Violets, and a small, unidentified, white flower.

Wild violets at the camp Wild Violets at the Rideau Camp

May flower at the camp unknown Little white flowers at the Rideau Camp, unidentified.

Yesterday the Crabapple Tree revealed her finery! The scent was intoxicating. Our lilacs, a light mauve colour, are blooming, Attila cut some for me, and the wonderful scent permeates the living room where I sit to write. The blooms on the apple tree in the back yard are also in full glory. The wild geraniums are getting ready to show their stuff as well.

Crabapple blossoms spring 2018 Crabapple Tree in full bloom and scent.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 23 May 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 12.8°C
Dew point: 11.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 16 km


“Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them. You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them.”
L. M. Montgomery
1874 – 1942


  1. Wendy, I know! The thing about rhubarb is that it needs sugar and lots of it in a recipe, or it will be a real mouth puckering experience. I am on a low sugar regime, so one small helping used up my ENTIRE DAY’S ration of sugar. It was worth it though, so yummy! We freeze a lot of rhubarb, you can bake with and stew it frozen, but for now we are eating right out of garden, while we can.

  2. Bex, they are pretty creepy little things. I squish em, and the ones that fall to the ground have crawled back onto the trunk within minutes. Sometimes they fall attached to long spidery strands, yuck! The worst is killing them high above my head, when some of them fall on me, I do it, but if Kate’s spray recipe works better than mind, that is definitely the way to go. xox

  3. Kate, I look forward to seeing your recipe! My recipe was dish soap and water, with a bit of bleach added for good measure, and it didn’t slow them down for a second. I’ll try again though, because a spray is much more efficient, less time consuming, and less brutal than squishing them by the thousands.

  4. Sandy, spring is so wonderful, I love flowers, and colour! The rhubarb crisp was so good, when we went to the Camp, that is what Attila brought with him to eat as his lunch, lol. I stuck to vegetable soup, no sugar in vegetable soup… I will admit to eyeing that rhubarb crisp with some little envy though, as Attila enjoyed his lunch.

    the worms are horrid, but totally uninterested in people, and they don’t enter buildings, at least I’ve not known them to in all my years of dealing with them. The mice bother me a lot more, because I don’t like them, and because they carry a potentially fatal disease.

    I have my fingers crossed Kate’s spray will work!

  5. Cara

    1 part liquid Tide
    1 part water
    2-3 parts vinegar
    Works almost instantly. Vinegar may cause some damage to leaves. You can also use a mix of just Tide and water too – omit the vinegar.

  6. Joan, thanks about the flowers, I am really enjoying them!

    The army worms are a short lived event. I am surprised that they are there again this year, but determined to prevent them from stripping all of the leaves from our trees. They are a cyclical phenomenon.

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