Little Ermel

The Little Ermel belongs to the ermine moths and is a common species throughout most of Britain and Ireland.

Also known as:
Little Ermine

Recognize Little Ermel
Little Ermel, photo: James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster - CC BY-SA 3.0

Little Ermel (Swammerdamia pyrella) belongs to the ermine moths (Yponomeutidae) and is and is a common species throughout most of Britain and Ireland. The caterpillars of this +11 mm butterfly live in spins on the leaves of apples, pears, hawthorn and cherries; the host plants of the Little Ermel.
Ermine moths, including the Little Ermel, can eat a tree or shrub completely bare; yet they are not harmful and the tree or shrub usually just sprouts after a few weeks.
Earwigs, parasitic wasps and birds are among the natural enemies of Little Ermel caterpillars.

Where to find

Control

Early in the spring, remove leaves with spins with branch and all, this way the population remains limited.

Prevention

In autumn, remove the spins; they contain eggs. Create an earwig friendly environment by hanging earthenware flower pots filled with hay or straw upside down from apple, pear and cherry trees.