Last Updated on April 21, 2022
You’re speculating a gorgeous tree with lushes leaves and layered branches in your garden. You come again to see it the next day, and behold! An enormous network of spider webs awaits you!
Why did this happen but more importantly, who did this? Are spiders to be held accountable for this, or is this the work of an army of silent insects? It’s time to find out!
P.s: Here’s a quick video to answer all your questions!
Table of Contents
What Causes These Giant Spider Webs to Form in My Trees?
These ‘spider webs’ aren’t spider webs at all! They are, in fact, the work of Hyphantria Cunea, better known as the fall webworm. The fall webworm is often confused with the East Tent Caterpillar. Both these species form webs on trees but of different consistencies and traits.
Webworms or Eastern Tent caterpillars leave a thick trail of webs while they munch on fruit trees. Even though these creatures feed on a large array of trees, their most favorite one is the black cherry tree. Black cherry trees can encounter a serious infestation of webworms or Eastern Tent caterpillars as their branches get extensively laden with webs.
What are Fall Webworms?
The Fall Webworm is a white-colored moth and is sometimes referred to as a pest. They are called ‘fall’ webworms because they feed extensively on trees during the fall season. So if you’re encountering webs on your trees during the late summer or fall season, it is most probably the works of a fall webworm.
This webworm is gregarious and ectothermic by nature. It forms webs that can trap heat inside. Their webs are relatively thin and loosely woven.
The fall webworms like to feed on wild cherry, sweetgum, mulberry, black walnut, oak, pecan, and hickory trees.
What are Eastern Tent Caterpillars?
The Eastern Tent Caterpillar or the or Malacosoma Americanum is also a moth. It is also called the lappet moth because it harbors fleshy lappets on either side of its body.
Eastern Tent Caterpillars are the most social species from the larvae family and like to form extensive colonies in trees.
These moths are more attracted to apple, crabapple, maple, and ash trees apart from the wild cherry trees. They are called ‘tent’ caterpillars because the webs they weave are thick and protective like a tent.
Unlike the Fall Webworms, these caterpillars like to feed during the spring.
Are These Webs Harmful to The Tree?
These webs aren’t exactly harmful to the trees. Their webbed network sources the food from the leaves trapped in the nest. So even though your tree loses leaves as these moths munch on them, it isn’t considered a ‘harmful’ activity.
If you find them unpleasant to look at, that’s another thing. We’ll get to that in a moment.
How to Get Rid of These Webs?
The easiest way to get rid of an infestation is by removing the entire colony down to the last bit. Take a rake or broom to detach the webs and place them in a bucket of soapy water.
If the infestation is extensive, you might have to pluck off the infected branches (prune them) or phone your local pest control organization for help.
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
As long as the trees are abundant with thick foliage, they won’t be harmed. However, small trees can face severe exfoliation and die once infested with webworms.
Webworms have a lifespan of about one year.