Yellow Necked Caterpillar

Subject: caterpillar on live oak tree
Location: Pender County North Carolina
September 18, 2015 6:59 pm
I noticed that some of my live oak trees had almost all their leaves gone. On inspection I saw several caterpillars eating the leaves. This was in southeastern North Carolina on September 17, 2015.
Signature: Tom Maloy

Yellow Necked Caterpillar
Yellow Necked Caterpillar

Dear Tom,
You are being troubled by the Yellow Necked Caterpillar,
Datana ministra, and according to BugGuide:  “The larvae feed on Malus, Quercus, Betula and Salix species. Young larvae skeletonise the leaves of their host plant. Later, they feed on all of the leaf except the leaf stalk. They feed in groups.”

Thank you so much.  Hope my oaks recover.  I know that the catalpa caterpillars (which to me look similar to these) completely denude the catalpa trees and they come back without a problem-hope my oaks do as well.  At least I can use the catalpa caterpillars for fish bait but didn’t know if I could handle the Yellow Necked Caterpillar safely.
Tom Maloy

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