If you’ve noticed giant webs in your trees, you’re not alone. They appear seemingly overnight and can be quite the eyesore in an otherwise beautiful yard! They look like giant spider webs, but these webs are actually caused by the fall webworm, which is a caterpillar that’s native to the Southeast.
Appearing at the end of summer to early fall, these webs are vital to the lifecycle of the fall webworm. However, since they can appear unsightly in your yard, you may want to remove them.
Will Fall Webworms Harm My Yard?
Generally, no. The fall webworm creates a web to hold its larvae, and the leaves connected to and included in the web serve as a food source for the young caterpillars. Aside from eating the leaves on your trees or shrubs, the fall webworm does not cause significant damage to your property. The nest will eventually break, dropping young moths to the ground for the winter months. The only harm done to your landscaping will be cosmetic, and while it may not be as pretty, you can let Mother Nature run her course without worry of lasting damage.
How Can I Remove a Fall Webworm Nest?
If you’d like to take these nests down, doing so is simple. Use a rake to pull down the webs, or tear a hole in the web sack to allow natural predators in, like birds and yellow jackets.
Are Fall Webworms and Eastern Tent Caterpillars the Same Insect?
They appear similar, but they are not the same. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar makes its web at the trunk of a tree, usually under a branch. Eastern Tent Caterpillars are also only active in the spring.
What Does a Fall Webworm Look Like?
Here in the south, fall webworms are white with black spots when they mature, with a wingspan of three and a half inches. As larvae, they are pale yellow with two rows of black markings, and they sport white hairs along their bodies as well.
While the Fall Webworm might ruin the leaves of your trees, they will rarely harm them in the long term. It’s up to you whether or not you want to leave them up! If damaging effects are noticeable due to years of infestation, call 888-MRCLEGG for expert advice on how to handle your unique fall webworm situation.
This fall, if you notice any other pests hanging around your yard or home, call your team of local pest control heroes. We’ve been family owned and operated for 50 years, and we’re here to keep you safe and comfortable throughout the seasons. Contact us online to speak with a member of our team today and schedule your FREE inspection!