If you’re wondering what that white webbing is all over your trees, you’re not alone. Numerous complaints have come into our offices about these sticky masses, and the caterpillars that emerge from them. While many may think they’re the bagworms of early spring, they are actually something different: fall webworms.
Fall webworms create nests of webbing late summer and early fall and become most noticeable in August and September. This late summer pest is unattractive but rarely causes significant damage to the trees in which it nests as the leaves being eaten are soon to fall off anyway. This particular nuisance prefers hardwood deciduous trees so if you have these in your yard (and on Long Island, you’re sure to have some,) you may have seen their sticky egg sacks.
This year, we have seen a much higher incidence than usual of fall webworm. Webworm comes in two waves, and the first wave of the season produced higher than average webworm activity, so as we move into August, the second wave may seem more apparent than usual. While it is important to protect young, or previously damaged plants, do not chop off branches or light them on fire to get rid of these nests, as you will do far more damage than the worms would do. You can break up the webbing with a rake or a long pole to improve the cosmetic effect they have on your trees. Breaking up the nests will expose the caterpillars to natural predators such as birds, wasps, and yellow-jackets, and therefore will reduce the number of future outbreaks.
If you are concerned about these pests and want to find out how you can protect your hardwood trees, or would like to inquire about having your trees treated, contact Aronica Plant Healthcare today.