If you’ve looked around the trees, you may have noticed those big kind of webs around the leaves and branches – those are actually from caterpillars. And they are all over Connecticut – called “Eastern Tent Caterpillars”.

What is the Eastern Tent Caterpillar?

The eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) is a species of moth in the family Lasiocampidae, the tent caterpillars or lappet moths. It is univoltine, producing one generation per year. It is a tent caterpillar, a social species that forms communal nests in the branches of trees. It is sometimes confused with the gypsy moth and the fall webworm, and may be erroneously referred to as a bagworm, which is the common name applied to unrelated caterpillars in the family Psychidae. The moths oviposit almost exclusively on trees in the plant family Rosaceae, particularly cherry (Prunus) and apple (Malus). The caterpillars are hairy with areas of blue, white, black and orange. The blue and white colors are structural colors created by the selective filtering of light by microtubules that arise on the cuticle.

Easter Tent Caterpillar – A Pest in Connecticut?

Although the nests are seen every Spring in Connecticut, the insect has usually been somewhat less destructive here in the northern New England. Normally the wild cherry furnishes the common food supply. It is only during the periods of great abundance that the nests occur on all kinds of fruit trees as well as other kinds of trees not commonly infested.

Eastern tent caterpillars aren’t a major threat to your trees, but if you are concerned about pests in your trees, Mighty Oak Tree & Lawn Care offers integrated pest management programs. Contact us today to learn more!

Article Resources:

  • http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/bulletins/b378.pdf
  • http://wtnh.com/2016/05/25/are-these-tent-caterpillars-harming-your-trees/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_tent_caterpillar