Larry Hanks, a certified arborist in central Kentucky, reported seeing newly hatched eastern tent caterpillars in Scott County on March 25. This is 7 to 10 days later than the typical mid-March date.
Soon after hatch, the tiny caterpillars feed on tree foliage and begin to build their communal silk nests on branches. Small tents in the upper branches can be seen as they catch sunlight (Figure 1). Eggs hatch over about a 2-week period, so regular checks are needed to assess population levels for 2018.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist