Question of the Week 2: March 30, 2017
“Neil, what are these caterpillars, and will they kill my tree?”
If you’ve read either of my photo captions, I can hear you saying: “Neil, there isn’t any tent. How can these be ‘tent’ caterpillars?”
These pests are closely related to eastern tent caterpillars, with one of the chief differences being that these don’t produce any kind of a tent. They just hang out on the trunks and stems.
Here is a great piece of information from my friend Dr. Mike Merchant with Texas A&M and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Mike says these are easily controlled with Bt or Spinosad if they’re doing obvious damage, but by the time they start to congregate on the trunk of your tree, they may be about to stop feeding. Birds will probably find them.
If you want to read more – written by a real entomologist – read Mike’s piece linked above.