South Carolina's Web Building Caterpillars

Sep 3, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. South Carolina has two noticeable web-building caterpillars, the Eastern tent caterpillar and the fall web worm. The Eastern tent caterpillar shows up first and does more damage --– it consumes the newly emerged foliage of trees, mostly those in the rose family – especially ornamental or fruit producing cherries and our deciduous black cherry – after the caterpillars pupate, the trees must use more stored carbohydrates putting out new leaves to restart their growth cycle.   The eastern tent caterpillars build webs in the crotch of a tree, while fall webworms engulf terminal clusters of leaves, enlarging them as they need fresh food. Out in Oregon, the Fruit Loop Trail has an annual cherry festival as they grow an array of those delicious fruits. They don’t have to worry about the Eastern tent caterpillar though --  it only occurs east of the Rocky Mountains.