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Fall Webworm

Hyphantria cunea

Author: Esther McGinnis

Symptoms

  • Fall webworm caterpillars are active from late July into September.
  • The hairy caterpillars are yellow to green and have two rows of black spots on their backs.
  • Fall webworm skeletonize leaves that are enclosed within a webbed shelter.
  • Their webs differ from those of tent caterpillars in that the webbing covers branch ends rather than tree crotches.

 

Webworm 1
Figure 1.
Fall webworm caterpillars with distinctive black spots. (Milan Zubrik, Forest Research Institute-Slovakia, Bugwood.org)

 

Webworm webbing
Figure 2
. Webbing covers branch ends. (Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University, Bugwood.org)

 

Webworm damage
Figure 3
. Fall webworm consume leaf tissue between the veins. (Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University, Bugwood.org)

Management and other important facts

  • Mature trees can handle fall webworm infestations and control measures usually are not required; this is more of an aesthetic issue.
  • Fall webworm infestations in younger trees should be removed to prevent severe defoliation.
  • Webbing and caterpillars can be removed with a stick and dropped into a pail of soapy water.
  • Chemical control usually is not effective because the webbing protects the caterpillars.

This website was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

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