If you’ve been outside lately, you might have noticed some caterpillars on the branches and leaves of your trees. Orange-Striped Oakworms look exactly how they sound; they’re caterpillars with a yellow-orange stripe on each side of their body, which distinguishes them from other caterpillars. Not only does their coloring set them apart, but they also have horns that they use to scare away larger predators. During the winter months, the pupa is underground; moths will emerge between June and August to mate. After mating, they will lay eggs on the undersides of host plants. Caterpillars will appear on these leaves and start their feasting.
Typically, they perch up in Oaks and other hardwoods emerging in late August or September (some are already out in our area!). Orange-Striped Oakworm larvae can defoliate entire trees, but what homeowners usually get annoyed by the most is their frass, or droppings. If you have seen Oakworms on your property, you’ve likely seen droppings underneath the trees that they’ve made into their homes. These droppings are–you guessed it–their poop, and it’s known to be excessive. Frass will fall on anything that happens to be underneath the tree, including sidewalks and vehicles. It has been said that you can even hear the waste pellets dropping onto other leaves towards the ground on a quiet day.
The health of the tree is key to recovery; a healthy tree will be able to produce more foliage after some Orange-Striped Oakworm feeding. Controlling the caterpillar is one option if frass debris is causing issues or unsightly damage to cars, patios, or sidewalks. Specific sprays and properly timed injections are some options when it comes to control.
Call our tree service professionals today to set up an appointment with one of our certified Arborists. With the help of our qualified technicians, your Arborist can get you squared away with a program to control pests and keep your trees as healthy as possible.