Fall Webworms

If you’ve taken a walk around your neighborhood recently, you may have seen some “spiderwebs” on the branches of the trees. Don’t be fooled; those aren’t webs from spiders! They also are not “Bagworms.” We get many calls into the office asking about Bagworms this time of year. We will discuss Bagworms in another blog.

One of the insects prevalent in our area right now is the Fall Webworm. They are seasonal insects who live inside the web “house” they weave. These little guys show up late summer through early fall, making their homes in many nutting trees like Walnut, River Birch, or Cherry, as well as other ornamentals. Unlike some other caterpillars, Fall Webworms will create their webs at the end of tree branches, instead of closer to the trunk in branch crotches. When taking a closer look at the web, you would most likely see a large number of worms, dead foliage, and defecation (aka – poop).

After spending time overwintering in a cocoon, typically Fall Webworms will begin to emerge during August. After the females lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, it’s not long before worms start to come out and start spinning their webs. The bigger the worms grow, the larger their webs will get. As they take in more foliage inside their web, you can see them skeletonize the leaves. After they’ve defoliated one section of the tree, they will move to another to begin feeding again.

What’s the best way to treat these pests? Some sprays can be applied to the web; however, many Arborists suggest the best thing to do is to prune them out. Sometimes the web can be hard to penetrate with spray, though it is possible. Pruning ensures that the section of Webworms is removed from the tree right then and there.

Want to know more? Talk to one of our Neighborhood Arborists about Fall Webworms today!

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