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If the fruit trees are attacked by small insects in spring that eat the trees bare, then these are usually the larvae of the winter moth. However, these reached the trees in autumn and overwintered here. These are not flying insects, but rather crawling insects that reach the tree trunk and lay their eggs there. In order to prevent infestation in spring, action must be taken in autumn with glue rings.

glue rings

Glue rings against frost moths

In many gardens they are already laid, usually as a green band, around fruit trees and other endangered trees, the glue rings. These serve as a mild and usually non-toxic remedy against flightless insects that find their way from the ground via the trunk to the crown and lay their eggs there.

frost moth

The winter moth females in particular are already active in autumn, while the larvae, on the other hand, do not damage the infested tree until spring.

Operhophtera brumata larva, small winter moth larva

What is the frost strainer:

  • Operhophtera brumata (lesser winter moth)
  • inconspicuous butterfly with flightless females
  • Larvae hatch in spring during leaf budding
  • eat leaves of fruit trees bare except for the midrib
  • Caterpillars pale green with typical bulging
  • Butterflies hatch in October
  • male specimens buzz in the treetop
Operhophtera brumata, lesser winter moth


In addition to winter moths, there are other pests that are also stopped by the attached glue rings from climbing into the crown of the trunk and causing extreme damage with their larvae and caterpillars. There are other types of tensioners, such as the large frost tensioner or the snow tensioner.

Erannis defoliaria, large winter moth

But thanks to the attached glue rings, bark beetles, blood lice, apple spider moths and the hazelnut bud borer also do not get into the crown or trunk of the tree and cause more damage here.


Endangered Trees

Glue rings are usually wrapped around the trunk of fruit trees to protect the crop. Because if all the leaves have been eaten bare, which can certainly be the case with a large infestation of winter moths and other insects, then the fruits can no longer develop protected in the tree crown.

But not only the fruit trees, which are the first choice of winter moths, are attacked by them. If there are other trees nearby, leaf feeding can also be observed if nothing is done about it. The following trees are particularly affected by an infestation of the harmful winter moth.

Malus, apple tree
  • Plums, apples and cherries especially affected
  • in addition to fruit trees, there are also linden, hornbeam and maple
Tilia, linden, linden tree

If larvae or the small, inconspicuous butterflies have already been discovered in your own garden, all trees in the garden should be protected with a glue ring as a precaution. Especially when the strong winds that often prevail in autumn, the eggs and, in spring, the caterpillars can be blown from the unprotected trees to the trees protected with glue rings and not yet infested. It should also be borne in mind that not only does the trunk provide an opportunity for insects to get to the top, but wooden posts should also be placed close to the trunk or trellises should be protected with glue rings. On the other hand, long, downward-reaching shoots and branches should be removed if they touch the grass or the ground.

Carpinus betulus, hornbeam


In order for the trees to be well protected for the next year, the glue rings must be attached to the trunks in autumn, ideally in September. Frost moths mate in October and the females climb into the treetops to lay their eggs here. Unfortunately, a one-off protection is not enough, because the adhesive effect of the rings is already weakening in December and action has to be taken again.

Acer circinatum, vine leaf maple

This should be done as follows:

  • carefully remove the glue rings
  • because winter moths also lay their eggs on the glue rings
  • this is what happens when they get caught here
  • when the rings become ineffective, the caterpillars hatch
  • and can thus overcome the obstacle in the spring
  • eggs are also laid below the glue ring on the trunk
  • therefore replace the glue rings again in winter
  • possibly again in March/April
  • even then the adhesive effect could have disappeared again
Glue rings on the fruit tree

It is important that the removed glue rings are carefully folded together and disposed of in a sealed bag with household waste so that all the pest eggs on them can be removed altogether.


application throughout the year

In spring it is also a good idea to wrap the trunks with a glue ring, because then the danger of winter moths is averted for the time being, but there are other, flightless insects that could now get into the tree crown via the trunk. Year-round protection with glue rings is therefore advisable. The rings should also be renewed every three months over the summer so that the adhesive protection is still in place. Since the rings do not harm the tree or the environment in any way, this is often just a matter of appearance. But a little green band around the trunk is far better and more decorative than a bare canopy or a tree damaged by bark beetles.

Glue ring on the fruit tree trunk

Attach glue rings correctly

The glue rings must be correctly attached to the trunk so that the pests cannot climb up the trunk under them. Careful work is therefore essential. The rings are usually attached in the middle of the trunk. A height should be selected here so that the insects cannot reach the tree over a bridge made of grass or the shoots of adjacent plants over the ring. Older trees in particular, which already have a furrowed bark, should be brushed off well at this point. This removes loose pieces of bark that the pests could otherwise crawl under. Then proceed as follows when attaching the glue rings.

Prunus avium, sweet cherry
  • Glue rings from the trade made of tear-resistant special paper
  • are delivered as a roll (similar to an adhesive tape)
  • place them around the tree trunk and measure
  • at the ends, the rings should overlap
  • cut desired length
  • Unfold paper, glue is in the middle
  • wrap around the trunk with the sticky side facing out
  • as wrinkle-free as possible and close to the trunk
  • Ends can be temporarily glued together

If the bark of the trunk still shows larger indentations despite the previous treatment with the brush, these should be leveled out. The gaps can be stuffed with paper or fabric so that the insects cannot infiltrate the attached glue rings. At the end, the glue rings are tied to the trunk with binding wire at the top and bottom so that no insects can slip under the ring here either. To be on the safe side, the glue on the rings can also be brushed over the edge of the bark with a flat brush.

Attach glue rings to fruit trees

specialist trade

glue rings from the trade

The well-stocked specialist trade now offers many different variants of the glue rings. Ready-made tapes with adhesive can be purchased here, as well as those where the hobby gardener first puts the tape and glue together on the trunk. But regardless of the decision for the product based on the application, it should always be ensured that the glue ring purchased has a green to brownish color. This is for the simple reason that a white color would attract many beneficial insects, which is not the point here. There is a large range on the market and for private use, if there are only a few trees to be protected, they are usually quite inexpensive.

Prunus cerasus, sour cherry

Do it Yourself

Make glue rings yourself

Of course, every hobby gardener can also make the required glue rings himself, but this is often not worthwhile. However, if you don't like the green color on the tree trunks, you have the option of making rings of a matching color to protect against pest infestation. There are many different ways to do this, including the following.

Glue rings on trees against pests

first mix:

  • 500 grams of rosin
  • available in well-assorted painting supplies stores
  • 700 g wood tar
  • Heat in a water bath for an even mixture
  • 300 g blubber
  • 500 g soft soap
  • added, stir and let cool

second mix:

  • 100 grams of rosin
  • 20 grams of turpentine
  • 60 grams of olive oil
  • heat and mix in a water bath

Both mixtures can be changed in terms of grams, depending on how much glue is needed for the homemade glue rings. If you want to do without the green rings on the trees, you can use solid, brown wrapping paper, which also attracts pests but not beneficial insects. Wrap the paper tightly around the tree, fix it with wire at the top and bottom and coat with the mass. It is also possible to stroke over the edge so that no winter moth females can slip under the package paper and still get into the crown. These glue rings should also be replaced after three months, as they also lose their adhesive effect over time.

caterpillar glue

Application of caterpillar glue

Caterpillar glue has only been available in well-stocked specialist shops for a few years. However, this also helps very well against all pests that make their way into the tree from bottom to top along the trunk. So instead of the glue ring, the caterpillar glue is applied to the tree trunk with a brush. Form a ring about twenty centimeters wide. The advantage here is that the glue seals even the smallest loopholes well. Before spreading, the glue should be heated to about 30° Celsius, then it can be applied more easily. After about three months it can be removed with a spatula and reapplied.

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