Outbreaks of the hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria (Guenée), are characterized by rapid increase and patchy distribution over widespread areas, which make it difficult to detect impending outbreaks. This is a major problem with this insect. Population forecasting is based on tedious and expensive egg surveys in which eggs are extracted from 1-m branches; careful observation is needed to avoid counting old unhatched eggs of previous year populations. The efficacy of artificial substrates as oviposition traps to sample hemlock looper eggs was tested as a means of improving outbreak detection and population forecasting. A white polyurethane foam substrate (1,095 lb/ft3) used with the Luminoc insect trap, a portable light trap, was highly efficient in sampling eggs of the hemlock looper. Foam strips placed on tree trunks at breast height were less efficient but easier and less expensive to use for the establishment of extensive survey networks. Estimates based on oviposition traps were highly correlated with those obtained from the 1-m branch extraction method. The oviposition trap is a standard, inexpensive, easy, and robust method that can be used by nonspecialists. This technique makes it possible to sample higher numbers of plots in widespread monitoring networks, which is crucial for improving the management of hemlock looper populations.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3