Summary: The tent caterpillar, also known as the eastern tent caterpillar is mostly a nusiance pest, but it can defoliate certain types of trees, leaving landscapes looking bare and ugly.
The eastern tent caterpillar is a pest of apple, crabapple and wild cherry trees, but it can also be found on maple, peach, pear, hawthorn and plum trees, too. In large numbers it can defoliate a tree, yet the tree will usually recover.
The eastern tent caterpillar builds a large silken nest in the crotches of tree limbs and can create a blot on the landscape as it defoliates a tree. The silk tents in trees and the presence of large quantities of crawling caterpillars on driveways, sidewalks and porch furniture, can drive a homeowner to distraction. But, save your money because insecticide ***image3***treatments have little effect on the mature larvae.
If you think you'd like to tackle the job of controlling these pests it's important to know that early control is a key factor. Get on your warm clothes because early winter is the best time to remove and destroy the tent caterpillar egg masses from ornamental and fruit trees.
In the spring you'll want to knock down the silk tents as they are being built. You can do this with a broom. Larger tents may need to be ***image2***pruned off the tree. There are some insecticides labeled for eastern tent caterpillar, but the silk tent offers protection from the sprays and you might be less than thrilled with the results.