White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Bugs on my Hop Plants
Location: Northwestern Ohio
August 16, 2011 2:28 pm
Attached is a picture of a bug that is all over my cascade Hops plant late this summer. It found white spun webs on leafs with them in it. There are a bunch more just crawling around curled up on the Hops leaves. They seem to leave the Hop cones alone. They are about 1.5 inch in length or smaller
Signature: John

White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Hi John,
This is a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Orgyia leucostigma, and we are quite intrigued to learn that it feeds on the leaves of hops. According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillars feed on a wide range of hardwood trees and conifers. Wagner(1) lists ‘apple, birch, black locust, cherry, elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, rose, willow…fir, hemlock, larch, spruce and other conifers.'”  Thanks to your experience, we can add hops to the list.  BugGuide also indicates  “Flightless females lay a froth-covered mass of up to 300 eggs after mating.”  Since the female is flightless, it stands to reason that the species is not easily introduced to new areas unless they are somehow transported there, like through human intervention.  If the hops plants are new to your garden, you may have brought the eggs along with the plants.  One final note is that BugGuide warns: “CAUTION: Avoid handling the caterpillar, as its hair is known to cause allergic reactions, especially in areas of the body with sensitive skin (e.g. back, stomach, inner arms). Seek medical treatment if a severe reaction occurs.”  Out of our own curiosity, are you a home brewer?  Our friend Jared makes amazing home brews in Los Angeles, and we just got invited to the hop harvest this week.

Thanks for the quick reply Daniel! I am a home brewer. I planted these hops two years ago. I don’t remember the caterpillars last year but the hops were not as plentiful last year.Oddly, I planted 5 different hops plants right next to each other andhave only seen the caterpillars on the cascade hops. (who doesn’t like a little cascade?). I will ask my home brew store where the hops rhizomes came from.
Thanks again,
John mulligan
swanton, oh

5 thoughts on “White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar”

  1. Hi,
    Just came on this web site. I also have this white marked tussock moth caterpillar all over my hop plants. I also am a home brewer. These hops have been here for 5 to 10 years and this is the first year I have seen them and they are very abundant, so I am highly confident they came from some other source as we have an extensive garden. We live in central Michigan 5 miles north of East Lansing in Bath. I wonder what adverse affects they have caused since this post is 2 years old.
    Thanks Tom D.

  2. I like in Arkansas and I have notice one or two around or in our carport. I had no idea what it was. It scared me a little to be honest but thanks for all the information.

  3. I don’t home brew but we have these all over the place here in south Texas. They prefer our oak trees. DO NOT touch them because the sting is extremely painful but only lasts about 15 to 30 minutes.


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