Fall Webworms are Here
August 12, 2013
Mid-summer is often the time Fall Webworms make an appearance in the DFW area. These caterpillars are most often found in pecan, sweetgum, mulberry, willow, hickory, oak and many other tree species. The caterpillars create webs in clusters than can cover large sections of foliage or even entire branches. Web clusters often reach several feet in diameter.
Inside these webs you’ll find masses of hairy caterpillars of Hyphantria cunea. They grow to about 1-inch long with pale yellow or green bodies, a mottled stripe and black bumps that run down the body and reddish colored heads. They are covered with tufts of long white hairs. The moths, which lay the eggs that become these caterpillars, are actually quite pretty; they are white with dark spots on the wings.
The fall webworm caterpillars have chewing mouthparts and they will go to town on your tree’s foliage once they are present. They will feed on the tender parts of the leaves, leaving behind the midrib and veins. Losing large amounts of foliage can put your trees under a lot of stress.
In many parts of Texas, you’ll discover fall webworms in late spring and summer, as webworms can have 3 to 4 generations emerge per year. It's usually the last fall generation that caused the most damage. Preventing the last fall generation from emerging is the best way to prevent extensive damage to your tree.
Here at Preservation Tree, we treat for webworms with natural biological controls. If you’ve had webworms in your trees in previous years, then it’s likely you’ll have them again this year. Repeated defoliation can send your trees into decline. Call us now and we can help prevent and treat infestations.