You might not consider what's lurking in the branches of the majestic trees you love. However, once you notice those silky webs while relaxing under the shade of the canopy, you might change your mind.
You may be wondering what kind of spider would choose your backyard tree to call home. However, you’d be surprised to learn that it's not spiders that create those webs after all. Rather Eastern tent caterpillars or fall webworms are to blame for spider webs in trees.
Keep reading to find out more about these tree pests and how to remove and prevent them from decorating your tree with “spider webs.”
The Reason Behind the Web
Fall webworms and Eastern tent caterpillars give spiders a lousy reputation. They are the real culprits behind those sticky webs. Which one depends on the time of year.
Fall webworms are caterpillars that leave behind a thick web after feeding on the tree. Fruit trees are their first choice but, there are over 100 different trees that it chooses for its meals.
If the webs appear in the spring, then the artist behind the silky masterpieces are most likely Eastern tent caterpillars. These little critters eat from numerous trees but only pose a significant risk to black cherry cheese.
What You Need to Know About These Creatures
• Fall Webworms
As you might predict with their name, these crawling critters most often appear in the fall. They are present always but only come out in the fall. Fall webworms are caterpillars that eat from the tree and then leave behind a thick web. In the winter they lay eggs that hatch in spring. By summer they are feeding on your tree and leaving those webs for fall.
• Eastern Tent Caterpillars
Tent caterpillars, on the other hand, hatch around the beginning of March and build their webs during April. Their webs serve the purpose of shelter from the rain that spring often brings. The leaves of the tree will be its food until they spin themselves into a cocoon a month later. A few weeks later, they will emerge as moths and lay their eggs again to start the entire process over again in May.
Should You Be Concerned and What About Fall
Webworms and tent caterpillars are harmless to humans. They aren’t poisonous and pose no risk to established trees. However, a young tree is a different story. Both tent caterpillars and fall webworms love to feed on younger trees. This could cause complete leaf loss before it reaches its prime. If you find webs in your young trees, then they rely on you to step in and eradicate the pests.
How to Remove the Spider Webs in Trees
To remove the web itself, you can use a broom to knock them down. To remove the webworms, you’ll need to spray insecticide or prune the trees to keep them from coming back during the next summer because they don’t live in their webs.
For tent caterpillars, remove their black bumpy looking eggs on your tree's branches during the winter time. If you there are still some that hatch in spring, then you’ll need to apply insecticide to your tree.
Don’t blame the spiders for those creepy webs, Eastern tent caterpillars and fall webworms are the true culprits. If your tree isn’t still young, you’ll have nothing to worry about. To find out more about whether the webs on your tree should be removed, call your local tree specialist. If you’re located in Rochester NY, then Rochester Tree services would be delighted to answer any questions you might have regarding the spider webs in your tree.
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