Controlling Tent Caterpillars in Your Trees

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Just about the time that the humming birds start to arrive at your landscape, the Eastern Tent Caterpillars will start eating away at certain types of your landscape trees.

Not only will they denude your favorite apple and cherry trees in your landscape, but they will make those awful looking silk nests in the same tree.

These insects don't come into your landscape every year from some place else. They are already in certain types of your landscape trees like apple, crabapple and cherry trees--and have wintered usually quite well.

When the temperature and light duration is just right, the little nests, or egg clusters, will hatch. Don't get over-excited when you find those egg clusters starting to hatch.

You still have a week or so to protect your trees. What you want to do is apply certain insecticides that are available at most home and garden centers on the leaves towards the end of the branches. These will be the tenderest of leaves and the prime food for the young developing tent caterpillars.

Get the chemical on the leaves earliest enough and it will take care of the most severe cases of tent caterpillars. If you get the chemical on when the silk nest is the size of a softball, you are in deep caterpillar trouble. When the nest gets about the size of a golf ball is the best time for treatment.

You can go chemical with products like Malathion, Seven or Eight insecticides, or you can go natural or organic with products like Dipel. No matter what control method you use, get it on early and read and understand the label.

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