TENT CATERPILLARS |
Forest Tent Caterpillar Malacosoma disstria
Eastern tent caterpillars become a
pest when they feed of deciduous trees, primarily Pecans,
Mulberries and Box Elders. They construct a tent of silk
on one or more branches of the tree. The tent provides
protection against weather and predators. The
caterpillar feeds during the day, and at night, they
return to the safety of the tent for protection.
The caterpillar is approximately 2 inches long,
hairy and black with cream colored stripe down its back.
Blue spots , as well as, brown and yellow lines can also
be seen along the sides of the caterpillar’s body.
cycle of the eastern tent caterpillar consists of
egg, larva, pupa and adult stages.
July or August, the female adult, a reddish -
brown moth, lays numerous eggs (up to 300) on a
branch. The eggs are held together by a sticky
substance, and the following late spring and
throughout the summer when the eggs hatch into the
larval stage. It is the larval stage (caterpillar)
of the life cycle which causes the most damage. In
approximately 5 to 7 weeks, the caterpillars reach
maturity, spins a cocoon and pupates for two
Eastern Tent Caterpillars on a
nest in a Crabapple
emerging as an adult, it mates and lays eggs
within 24 hours producing
only one generation per year.
One or two colonies can completely
defoliate a small tree. Periodic, major out breaks
result in numerous colonies in larger trees which
can also do considerable defoliation. Since this
defoliation occurs, the tree must set out new
leaves at considerable energy expense.
Mechanical Control - Destroy egg
masses and nests. Chemical and Biological control,
spray with an
insecticide diazinon, dursban, orthene or
methoxychlor, and again my preference is to use
the biological application of “B.t.” Bacillus
thuringiensis applied as
a foliar spray while the caterpillar is in the
early stages of development.
Images of western tent caterpillar,
Click on a photo for the
Light yellow to
yellow brown. Forewings are crossed
with two lines with space in between
often darker to form a
without building a tent. Spin cocoons
in one or more webbed together leaves.
(Note: The common tent building
caterpillar around s
probably the western
|| Dark brown with bluish head and
blue to blue-black sides. |
surface marked with whitish or yellowish
shaped spots and patches of
Click on photo for the full
|Dark brown with bluish head and blue to
blue-black sides. Dorsal surface marked with
whitish or yellowish keyhole shaped spots and
patches of orange lines.
The Western Tent
Click on a photo for the
Oakworms | Oak Leaf
These three articles on Cankerworm, Bagworms and
Tent Caterpillars may contain pesticide
recommendations that, are subject to change at any
time. These recommendations are provided only as a
guide. It is always the pesticide applicator’s
responsibility, by law, to read and follow all
current label directions for the specific
pesticide being used. If any information in these
recommendations disagrees with the label, the
recommendation must be disregarded. No endorsement
is intended for products mentioned, nor is
criticism meant for products not mentioned. The
Writer assumes no liability resulting from the use
of these recommendations.