EASTERN TENT CATERPILLAR
Only one generation of eastern tent caterpillars develops each year. In spring as new leaves develop, the caterpillars leave the eggs and begin to feed and spin silken webbing. After about two days, they begin weaving a tent in a crotch of a branch. As the caterpillars grow, they spin successive layers on the tent. In good weather, the caterpillars leave the nest several times each day to feed. In bad weather, the caterpillars remain in the nest. About 6 weeks after hatching, the caterpillars leave the nest and crawl to spin their cocoons on fences, tree bark, buildings or debris.
Once inside the cocoon, the caterpillar develops into the pupal stage. In early summer, adult moths molt from the pupal stage and emerge from the cocoons to mate and lay eggs. The caterpillars develop inside the eggs, but they do not hatch until the following spring. They spend the summer, fall, winter and very early spring inside the egg mass.
Because eastern tent caterpillars spend the winter inside the egg masses,
one effective method of controlling the caterpillars is to remove and destroy
the egg masses before the caterpillars hatch. If the caterpillars have already
hatched, the tents can be pulled down with a stick and the caterpillars
crushed or otherwise destroyed . Never use fire to destroy eastern tent caterpillars
as fire is extremely dangerous. Fire may damage the tree and endangers the
operator and nearby property. The following pesticides are a few of those suitable
for use to control eastern tent caterpillars on ornamental plants. Be sure
to follow the directions for safe use found on the label of whichever pesticide
is selected. Treat foliage nearest web. Consult the NC
Agr. Chemicals Manual for other chemicals.
|*carbaryl (Sevin)||follow label directions|
|B.t. (Dipel)||spray foliage near web while larvae small|
|bifenthrin (Talstar)||7.9F||follow label directions|
* formulations suitable for home use.
Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance contact an agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in your county.Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
Web page last reviewed January, 2011 by the webperson.