Question of the Week – Number One: December 12, 2019
“Is there anything I can or should do now that would lessen the outbreak of webworms we will have in 2020? They were horrible this past year.”
Unfortunately, there’s nothing much we can do preemptively. The moths that lay the eggs that populate our trees are highly mobile. Word gets out that you have delicious pecans (and persimmons and walnuts and other yummy species), and they fly in from miles around.
Your best hope in keeping them in check is to watch for first signs of small webs as they form, then to use a long-handled pole pruner to trim them out. (Do not use anywhere near power lines!) Insecticides are notoriously ineffective because of the height of the webs and the fact that they repel sprays.
The good news is that webworms and tent caterpillars don’t really do serious harm to your trees. They’re highly unattractive, but you can deal with that. Pick up the fallen and stuck webs that are still hanging around and send them off to the landfill. Hopefully 2020 will find far fewer showing up in our landscapes.