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What is the NC bug that makes thick webs in trees and windows?

NC Forest Tent Caterpillar


What is the NC bug that makes big webs in my trees and windows?

Normally when we see a thick web in our windowsill or one of the trees in our yard, we immediately think one thing: spiders!! However, there are other types of insects that are notorious for creating enormous sacs or networks of thick webbing. We often get a variation of this question from our customers: what is the bug that makes big webs in windows and trees at my house? The answer may surprise you, as it is not necessarily a type of spider. It could very well be another creepy crawler that has become quite active in North Carolina in recent years, the Forest Tent Caterpillar, also known as the Eastern Tent Caterpillar!


What does the Forest Tent Caterpillar look like?

The Forest Tent Caterpillar, (also called the Eastern Tent Caterpillar) has become increasingly common in North Carolina in recent years, and can become a concern for homeowners. While the caterpillar is not actually dangerous, their giant nests are quite noticeable, and can make some homeowners nervous. You can identify the forest tent caterpillar by its inch two inch long body which has what many describe as “ a line of penguin designs” running down its back.


Where does the Eastern Tent Caterpillar live?

They are commonly found spinning their enormous and thick webs between the legs of picnic tables, under or around the decks of homes, or trees, particularly cherry trees. However, they are sometimes found in the windows or window sills of homes as well.


Are Forest Tent Caterpillars dangerous?

Eastern or Forest Tent Caterpillars are not dangerous, and do not present a threat to you, your children, or your pets. While they are covered in small hairs that could be misinterpreted as spikes, they do not bite, sting, or poison. They usually just keep to themselves, determinedly spinning away and building their webs. Once complete, they spend most of their time in their webs resting and molting, waiting to turn into moths.


Forest Tent Caterpillars in Tree in NC


How can I get rid of Tent Caterpillars?

As stated above, tent caterpillars are not usually dangerous. However, if they have made their web in or on your window sill or deck, or perhaps in your favorite tree, you may want them gone. In that case, there are a couple of ways to get rid of the Eastern/Forest Tent Caterpillar.

  1. You can wipe their web off of your window or deck with a towel or cloth, or with a glove on. If you do not want to get that close, you can use a broom or a mop to do the same.
  2. If you do not want to remove the web completely, or are looking for an alternative, elegant solution, you can jab their web full of holes with a stick or broom handle. This will allow birds and predators access to the larvae inside of the web, and voila. Nature takes care of nature.


Want help getting caterpillars out of your house, or have a more serious pest problem?

Call Clegg’s Pest Control! Our experienced team of pest control pros is waiting and ready to leap into action defending your home with a variety of safe and effective pest control solutions. Pests or wildlife moved into your home? Call our Clegg’s team at (888) MRCLEGG and schedule your FREE inspection today. We will move those pests right back out!


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