Currently viewing the category: "Tent Caterpillars and Kin"
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We saw lots and lots of nests of these worms in the nooks of small trees at Bear Mountain NY. We didn’t notice them until the peaks which are around 1000 ft in altitude. They may have been at lower altitudes but we didn’t notice them there as much. Any idea what this insect is? We assumed it spins the nest so it’s maybe related to silk worms?
Ted

Hi Ted,
This is the tent of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum. The female lays eggs on tree branches in the fall and the egg overwinter, hatching in the spring. The caterpillars are social and spin the tent for protection.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hello again from the Yucatan of Mexico
You helped me with a lovely (and pesky) melon moth a month or so ago and now I have a new question. The attached photos show a woolly caterpillar that has a hard and shiny reddish head. One photo shows how they gather at the base of trees during the daytime. At night they climb the local trees – one they seem to like a lot is a wild fig – and eat the leaves until they look like lacework. Then, as the sun comes up they stream down the tree trunks to gather in hollows and under logs. They are really doing a number on the trees and if they are going to hatch into something noxious I may consider spraying them to reduce their numbers near the area where we live. We live in a dense jungle so won’t be anything close to eliminating them overall. Another characteristic is that they sometimes have a spiderweb-like thread that they emit. I googled the description but don’t find anything. I have looked at all of you photos and don’t see one that looks quite like it nor any description of the behavior. Can you help?
Kathe Kirkbride

Hi Kathe,
Your written description and photos indicate this is probably some type of Tent Caterpillar, though many do not form tents. Huge aggregations often do considerable damage, but these large numbers are cyclical and do not occur every year. Loosing leaves is not a life threatening situation for trees. Poison might do more harm than good.

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Can you help?
Every year in August in Michigan( all through michigan), I see this web like mass in trees. I asked the locals, they had no clue what they were, they didn’t even notice them. Do you know what it is?
Yvette

Hi Yvette,
This is a Fall Webworm, Hyphantria cunea, nest. In the fall, these social caterpillars can build enormous webs that cover the leaves. Here is a site with more information.

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rockin’ caterpillars
These little fellows were twitching in their mass cocoon. The picture was taken in early summer. Can you identify them?
Mike
Boise, ID

Hi Mike,
These are Tent Caterpillars, probably Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum. Here is a link with additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What’s this teal caterpiller
I thought I sent this to you back in June but could find no answer. Found in Detroit area in June. Looked everywhere for a picture of it to no avail. Any idea?
Thanks, Chris

Hi Chris,
This is a Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria. Although a gregarious feeder, this caterpillar does not form a tent. It is occasionally a pest, feeding on aspens, gums, maples, oaks, and many other forest and orchard trees. Caterpillar is found April to June. Here is a Florida site with information aplenty.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination