The second generation of the fall webworm is underway. The caterpillars have pale green or yellow hairs over their bodies with rows of black spots along their backs. They cooperatively build light gray tents that enclose the branches of over 100 species of forest and shade trees. Fall webworms feed on leaves inside the webbing and expand the “tent” as they require more food.
Impact & Management
Usually, the infestation is limited to a branch or two and the impact is aesthetic rather than a threat to plant health. Large, established trees can withstand leaf loss and often are too large to treat effectively, but new trees in the landscape should be protected. If practical, physical removal of a nest and caterpillars should be sufficient.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist