Bugging out: Caterpillars invade area trees

Bugging out: Caterpillars invade area trees

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Driving around town you will notice an increase of webs in the trees.

The population of Eastern Tent Caterpillars seems to be up this year, but Arkansas State University Associate Professor of Entomology, Dr. Tanja McKay said that isn't the case.

McKay said, "All Summer, they've been developing over the last few weeks, now we're just seeing a larger amount, they're more visible because their nests are larger."

McKay said that there is a certain place where the caterpillars like to build their web and that it will grow through the Summer as the caterpillars grow in size and the caterpillars may cause a little bit of damage, but it isn't long term damage.
McKay said, "They will do extensive removal of leaves from the tree, which can look very damaging at this point, at this time of year, but that tree will likely sustain itself and next Spring will have new leaves coming from it."

 McKay said that you can spray pesticide earlier in the year to stop them from being as bad, but this time of year, there isn't much you can do.

McKay said, "You'll have to kind of deal with the issue at this point in time, the nice news is that a tree that is smaller in statue you might be able to hand pick maybe remove some of those."

The good news behind the web, is that McKay said that as we head deeper into Fall and closer to Winter, the caterpillars will start to go into their cocoons and the webs will start to wither away.  By the time we head into Spring the trees will start to grow their leaves back, and we won't see the Eastern Tent Caterpillars again until next Summer.

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