Our phones have been ringing off the hook lately with customers noticing the fall webworms are already invading their trees. It might seem worse than usual this year due to a number of factors, primarily the higher than usual rainfall we received and the foliage in trees being more dense.
Most of the time, we will see two generations of webworms a year. One around this time of year, the second and usually bigger being later in the summer or early fall. You’ll find these webs in many ornamental trees, especially pecan, hickory, persimmon, sweetgum, willow, redbud, oaks and in many fruit trees. The webs are formed when large masses of small caterpillars who create the web and then feed on the leaves of the tree. After the larva hatch, they pupate under the tree, hatching into tiny white moths later in the season or following spring. The moths then lay their eggs mainly on the underneath side of these deciduous trees and hatch into larva a few weeks later, completing the cycle.
By the time the webworms are spotted in the trees, it’s very difficult to control. If you can reach them from the ground or a ladder you can simply break up the web and destroy the worms. You can also use a high-pressure hose to spray the webs and knock the caterpillars out of the tree. We are busy applying insecticide right now, while it won’t help much with the current crop of worms, it will help prevent the late fall infestation. Other than being ugly, they don’t usually cause too much damage to trees.
As with most of our other services, it’s best to get ahead of the problem most of the time. If you have any deciduous trees on your property that have this issue every year, a preventative insecticide earlier in the spring before they begin feeding usually works best. If you have them in your trees, give us a call or talk to your Route Manager to set up treatment for the next round!
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