Webworm

Category:

Actual Size: Larvae – 1”; Moth – 1 ½’

Characteristics: Webworms are the caterpillar (larva) stage of webworm moths. Webworm caterpillars are yellowish and striped; moths are white and fuzzy.

Legs: Yes

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Adult moths have wings

Habitat: Larvae construct unsightly webs on the outer ends of tree branches while they feed in late summer and early autumn.

Habits:

  • Caterpillars construct large unsightly webs on trees.
  • Feed on the leaves of at least 80 species of shade, nut and fruit trees.
  • Although their webs are unsightly, they do not harm otherwise healthy trees.

Webworms in Bristol

The fall webworm is native to North America and is found throughout most of the United States, including right here in Tennessee. Caterpillars construct large, unsightly webs on the outer ends of tree branches while they feed in late summer and early autumn. They are distinctly different from the Eastern Tent-Caterpillar, which prefers to create webs in the crook of tree branches. Webworms feed on the leaves of at least 80 species of shade, nut, and fruit trees. Although they don’t cause permanent damage, their webs can be unsightly in large amounts.

Webworm Habitat

The fall webworm lives in areas where host trees occur, namely hardwood forests and landscapes. Infestations are most common on trees growing in open areas, such as along roadsides, in yards and on forest edges. Fall webworm moths are attractive white moths emerging between May and July to mate. Female moths lay several hundred eggs on the undersides of leaves, and when the eggs hatch, young larvae construct a nest by webbing leaves together. Larvae feed on foliage enclosed by the nest, which expands as the larvae develop.

Webworm Behaviors & Dangers

Webworms do not bite, are not poisonous, and are considered to be more of a nuisance pest. Although the webs are unsightly, defoliation by fall webworms usually causes little harm to the tree. Most trees are already preparing for winter dormancy, so few energy reserves or nutrients are lost. However, most property owners prefer to eliminate webworm nests. Since fall webworms are not considered harmful, their webs can be removed by using a long branch to open the web itself.

If you notice webworm problems in your Bristol property, contact your local exterminators for help.