How To Get Rid Of Tent Caterpillars

Eliminating Tent Worms – Tent Caterpillar Home Remedy Solutions

Nikki Tilley, author of The Bulb-o-licious, contributed to this article. Malacosoma americanum (tent worms) are a common sight in the garden, although they pose little damage to the health of the gardener or his or her family. Getting rid of tent caterpillars, on the other hand, is occasionally essential. We can look into ways to avoid tent worms and, if required, how to eliminate tent worms from your home.

About Tent Worms

Tent caterpillars are commonly mistaken with autumn webworms, although they are very distinct creatures. Tent worms are most active in the early spring, whereas webworms are most active in the late summer and early fall. Tent worms build their tent-like nests in the forks of branches, whilst webworms build their web-like nests at the extremities of branch forks. Fall webworms construct nests that include foliage or leaves as well as their own bodies. Tent caterpillars, on the other hand, do not.

They will, however, build their nests in ash, willow, and maple trees as well as other species.

Large colonies, on the other hand, can cause severe defoliation of trees because they feed on the leaves.

Tent caterpillars may also graze on neighboring plants, according to the USDA.

Tent Caterpillar RemovalTent Caterpillar Home Remedy

It is frequently possible to pluck out the tent caterpillar nests or egg cases by hand when tent caterpillar removal is required. When the leaves fall off the trees in the fall, egg cases are plainly seen. Larger nests may be removed by looping them around a stick, or they can be pruned out and disposed of in the trash. The optimum time to remove tent caterpillars from their nests is in the early morning or late evening, when they are most likely to still be in the nest. The introduction of natural enemies, such as different species of parasitic wasps, can also aid in the reduction of tent worm populations.

How to Kill Tent Worms

When it comes to getting rid of tent caterpillars, sometimes the only option is to kill them. While tiny infestations may be controlled by dumping the nests into soapy water, contact pesticides are the most effective method for controlling bigger populations. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is the most effective of the bacteria types. Because this is a selective pesticide, it only kills tent caterpillars while staying safe for use around other animals.

Directly spray the foliage and tent worm nests with the product. Following these simple techniques will make getting rid of tent caterpillars a piece of cake. The beauty of your trees will be restored in a short period of time. The information in this page was last updated on

Tent Caterpillars – How do I get rid of tent caterpillars?

In certain cases, killing tent caterpillars is the only option for getting rid of them. While tiny infestations may be controlled by dumping the nests into soapy water, contact insecticides are the most effective method for controlling bigger populations of insects. Among the most successful bacteria is Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The fact that this is a selective insecticide means that it will kill tent caterpillars while remaining harmless to all other species. Directly spray the foliage and tent worm nests with the spray bottle.

The beauty of your trees will be restored in a short amount of time.

Life Cycle

Female moths lay their egg masses on tree trunks or tiny twigs throughout the late spring to early summer period (Fig. 1). The females of all Texas species, with the exception of the Sonoran tent caterpillar, utilize spumaline, a sticky, foamy substance, to “glue” the eggs to the bark or twigs of trees and shrubs. The spumaline also functions as a protective shell surrounding the egg mass, providing a firm, durable surface. During the majority of the summer, fall, and winter, egg masses linger on the branches of the trees.

  1. Eastern and western tent caterpillars begin feeding on these fresh leaves within a few days of their appearance.
  2. In most cases, the web is situated in the crotch of tiny limbs (Fig.
  3. Because the larvae wander away from their tents to feed on leaves, harm can occur even if the web is located a long distance away from the tents.
  4. These enormous, noticeable webs are created by the eastern and western tent caterpillars.
  5. The larvae molt, or lose their skin, multiple times throughout their development.
  6. The color pattern can also alter from instar to instar depending on the species.
  7. 3).
  8. Between feedings, dozens of caterpillars may assemble on these mats to wait for their next meal.
  9. Protected areas like as the web, under the bark, among dead plant material on the ground, within a curled leaf, or under the eaves of homes are all common locations for spiders to hide.
  10. Generally speaking, cocoons are loosely made of silk with a white or yellowish crystalline component dispersed throughout the whole thing.
  11. Tent caterpillars in their adult form are brown and yellowish moths with two diagonal patterns on the front wings of their bodies (Fig.

4). Their wingspans are around 1 inch in length. They are drawn to lights, like do other moths. A single generation of tent caterpillars occurs once a year in all species. Adults only survive for a few days, during which time they mate, lay eggs, and do not consume any food.


Tent caterpillars in its infancy are brightly colored and grow to be approximately 134 inches long when fully grown. The only lengthy hairs on their body are found around the sides and on the back. Individual species may be distinguished by the colors and patterns on their larvae. If you come across tents with larvae that do not fit the descriptions in Table 1, it is most likely that they are autumn webworm tents. Fall webworms may construct tents throughout the late summer and fall and can have numerous generations per year, depending on the species.


The degree of defoliation, unattractive webs, and nuisance caused by the caterpillars should be taken into consideration when developing a management strategy. It is possible that you may need to utilize a combination of cultural and chemical procedures to achieve the optimum results. Control over one’s culture. During winter pruning, look for egg masses, which show as swellings on tiny, naked branches and are a sign of infestation. When trees are pruned, the tent caterpillar eggs are frequently removed before they develop.

  1. When you discover spider webs on twigs in the spring, prune them as soon as you notice them.
  2. It is not suggested to burn the web or caterpillars since it is quite dangerous.
  3. Remove the dead caterpillars from the ground and dispose of them.
  4. Beneficial insects can help to lower the number of tent caterpillars.
  5. Trichogramma species prey on the eggs of tent caterpillars.
  6. Control through chemical means.
  7. The use of insecticide is pointless if the tent caterpillars have been allowed to feed and develop to completion.

Tents are weather-resistant and will remain in the tree for an extended period of time until they are removed.

Early morning or late evening applications are recommended in order to concentrate the spray on the tents when the caterpillars cluster.

The species that may be sprayed with these oils will be listed on the label of the product.

Some organically generated goods contain active substances such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)varietykurstaki, spinosad, or insecticidal soap, which are all derived from bacteria.

In order for the Bt kurstaki and spinosad to be taken up and consumed by the caterpillars, spray the plant well before applying the substance to the leaves.

Contact-kill insecticides such as insecticidal soap must be applied directly to the caterpillars in order for them to be killed.

Some of these formulations operate when they come into direct contact with the pest, while others may have an oil-based component that is comparable to horticultural (petroleum-based) oils in their composition.

There are several long-lasting, synthetic pesticide solutions available that give quicker and longer-lasting control than most plant-derived insecticides while also working on all phases of the caterpillar’s life cycle.

Bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, esfenvalerate, fluvalinate, permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, indoxacarb, acephate, and carbaryl are all active chemicals to search for in a pesticide formulation.

Pesticide users are accountable for the impact pesticides have on their own plants or home goods, as well as any difficulties that may arise as a result of pesticide drift from their own properties to the properties or plants of their neighbors.

Also prone to change are the regulations governing the use of insecticides and pesticides. Always read and carefully follow the instructions on the product label for the most dependable instructions.


The author would like to express his gratitude to Bart Drees, Glen Moore, and Kim Schofield for their contributions to the review of this article. Bart Drees provided all of the photographs. Download a printer-friendly version of this publication by clicking on the following link: Caterpillars of the Tent »See more details about Gardening and Landscaping» Do you have a question – or do you require the assistance of an expert? Make contact with the appropriate county office.

How to Get Rid of Eastern Tent Caterpillars

Thanks to Bart Drees, Glen Moore, and Kim Schofield for their contributions to the evaluation of this article, which was greatly appreciated. Photographs by Bart Drees unless otherwise stated. This publication is available in a printer-friendly format for download at: Caracara tenebriosa More information about Gardening & Landscaping» Is it necessary for you to contact an expert because you have a query or concern? Inquire with the appropriate county office.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars

The author wishes to express his gratitude to Bart Drees, Glen Moore, and Kim Schofield for their contributions to the review of this paper. Bart Drees provided all of the photographs used here. Download a printer-friendly version of this publication by clicking on the link below: Caterpillars that build tents Find out more about Gardening & Landscaping» Do you have a question or do you require the assistance of an expert? Contact the appropriate county office.

Western Tent Caterpillars

The author would like to express his gratitude to Bart Drees, Glen Moore, and Kim Schofield for their assistance with this text. All photographs courtesy of Bart Drees. Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Caterpillars in Tents View more Gardening and Landscaping information» Do you have a question – or do you need to speak with an expert? Make contact with your county office.

Forest Tent Caterpillars

Caterpillars that live in forest tents are distinctive in appearance. It is easy to distinguish them by their blue hue with black specks and the white marks in the shape of feet in the center of their backs, which are in the middle of their backs. Similarly to spider webs, these are silken mats that are placed between tree branches, and they are not regarded to be “tents.” Some examples of host plants are as follows:

Other Insects That Are Mistaken for Tent Caterpillars

There are several different sorts of moths and insects that are often mistaken for tent caterpillars, including lacewings and aphids. They have a variety of consequences for your property.

Gypsy Moths

Gypsy moth caterpillars are distinct from tent caterpillars, which implies that gypsy moth caterpillar control methods will differ slightly from tent caterpillar control methods. Gypsy moths don’t come in the spring, but rather later in the year, when the weather warms up. An entirely new generation arises each year, and they harm a wide variety of ornamental shrubs, conifers, and trees. They can also be seen on fruit trees and shrubs.

Fall Webworms

If you hear someone mention tent worms, it’s possible that they’re referring about autumn webworms instead. Although they are not tent caterpillars, the terms “tent caterpillar” and “tent caterpillar” are sometimes used interchangeably. Fall webworms are distinguished from eastern tent caterpillars by their appearance and behavior. They are creamy-white, hairy, and speckled with black spots, but eastern tent caterpillars are not.

Their webs are spun over the tops of branches and leaves, and they also eat within their webs, as opposed to tent caterpillars, which only utilize their tents for protection. Fall webworms are most active during the fall season, as the name indicates.

Tent Caterpillar Lifecycle and Control

Knowing the pest’s lifecycle is essential when dealing with tent caterpillars or removing a caterpillar infestation from your property. During the early spring, eastern tent caterpillars make their initial appearance and finish their lifecycle by the end of the summer. This implies that host trees have more time to produce new foliage and are less likely to perish as a result of an infestation. They can, however, do damage to the beauty and health of a tree. During the months of January through March, eastern tent caterpillars deposit their eggs in host trees.

  • Adult moths begin producing new batches of eggs in the summer and continue to do so through the fall and into the early winter months.
  • Safer®Brand Caterpillar eggs are killed by BioNEEM®, a neem oil concentration that is used to kill the eggs of a range of insect pests, including caterpillars.
  • It is azadirachtin that is found in BioNEEM®, which is a naturally occurring Insect Growth Regulator that has been isolated from the neem seed.
  • This product is a means of removing caterpillar infestations from a structure.
  • Caterpillars, on the other hand, are killed within a few days of exposure.
  • Forest tent caterpillar control, Western tent caterpillar control, Eastern tent caterpillar control, Fall webworm control, Gypsy moth control are all examples of pest control. Caterpillar control in a green step
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Pruning and the introduction of natural predators are two more techniques of removing tent caterpillars from a structure. The natural enemies of caterpillars include birds and wasps, among others. Predators pluck these bugs out of trees and consume them because they are poisonous. As an alternative, if the caterpillars’ tents are within reach, you might consider cutting off the afflicted branches and burning them to get rid of tent caterpillars completely.

How to Get Rid of Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars are the larvae of various moth and butterfly species (mentioned below), which are referred to as a group by their common name. These caterpillars, which are found throughout most of the United States and Canada, reproduce quickly and have the ability to defoliate a significant number of deciduous trees and shrubs in a short period of time. These pests are frequently seen on wayside trees and in abandoned orchards. Aside from defoliation, the larvae build big unattractive webs, or tents, in the crotches of tree limbs, which are difficult to remove.

It is the purpose of these webs to keep predators and the weather away from the caterpillars. Despite the fact that tent damage is ugly, infestations of insects seldom endanger the life of trees. There are four species that are frequently discussed:


The Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) is a species of caterpillar that may be found east of the Rocky Mountains and north into southern Canada. In their full developed state, caterpillars are sparsely hairy and black in appearance, with a row of pale blue markings on either side of their bodies. They may be distinguished by a white stripe running down the middle of their backs, which helps to identify them. Adults are reddish brown moths that are 1-1/2 inches in length and have two white stripes running diagonally across each forewing.

  1. The Western Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma californicum) is a pest that may be found in the northern and western regions of the United States as well as in adjacent Canadian territory.
  2. Approximately 1-1/2 inches in length, adult moths are orange-brown in color with two faint yellow lines on the underside of the wings.
  3. Malocsoma disstria is a forest tent caterpillar that may be found across the United States and Canada anywhere hardwoods can be found in the forest.
  4. americanum are similar in appearance to the adult, but instead of a solid line running down their back, they have a series of keyhole-shaped white dots.
  5. Wild cherry, aspen, maple, oak, and hawthorn are among the plants that serve as hosts.
  6. Webworms are known to feed on over 85 different types of trees and are found across North America and Mexico.
  7. One-inch-long caterpillars are coated with long hairs and range in color from yellow to green, with a black stripe along the back and a yellow stripe on each side of the body.
  8. Adult moths (1 inch in length) are pure white in color with black markings on the wings, which are characteristic of the species.

Life Cycle

East of the Rockies and north into southern Canada, the Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) is a caterpillar species. In their full developed state, caterpillars are sparsely hairy and dark in color, with a row of pale blue dots on either side of their bodies. It is simple to recognize them since they have a white stripe down the middle of their backs. Reddish brown moths with two white stripes running diagonally across each forewing are the size of an adult (1-1/2 inches in length).

  • In the northern and western parts of the United States and adjacent Canada, the Western Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma californicum) can be a nuisance.
  • In addition to having two narrow yellow lines on the wings, adult moths are orange-brown in color and measure 1-1/2 inches in length.
  • In the United States and Canada, the Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) can be found in areas where hardwoods are prevalent.
  • americanum from their parents.
  • Wild cherry, aspen, maple, oak, and hawthorn are some of the plants that serve as hosts for this parasitic disease.
  • Instead of building a home in the crotch of a tree like tent caterpillars do, webworm tents are found at the extremities of branches and are frequently adorned with leaves.

There are two color options for their heads: red and black. Maturity is indicated by the presence of black dots on the wings of adult moths (1 inch in length).

How to Control

  1. Prevent the larvae from starting to eat by scraping off and discarding overwintering egg masses and tearing the protective tents out by hand before they start to feed. With this method, you may restrict caterpillar mobility and deny them access to eating locations. Sticky Tree Bands or Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier are two options for preventing pest infestations. The naturally occurring soil-dwelling bacteriumBacillus thuringiensis, often known as Bt-kurstaki, is highly powerful against all species of inch worms. At the first indication of damage, use a spray that is simple to apply to knock out the worms and safeguard the foliage. It is safe to use BTKsprays near dogs and children since they do not damage honey bees or birds
  2. Spinosad, a biological substance developed from fermentation, is also extremely useful in a variety of applications. In fact, it’s the active ingredient in Monterey Garden Insect Spray, a product that has been classified as organic by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program and listed for organic use by the Organic Materials Review Institute
  3. AzaMaxcontains azadirachtin, which is the key insecticidal ingredient found in neem oil. This very powerful spray interferes with the growth and development of nuisance insects while also acting as a repellant and anti-feedant. In addition to being non-toxic to honey bees and many other helpful insects, it should only be used as a last resort for dealing with bug infestations. Natural pesticides, which are derived from plants that contain insecticidal qualities, have less adverse side effects than synthetic chemicals and degrade more quickly in the environment.

Note: Although more than 80 species of predators and parasites have been identified in the United States, none of them are now available for purchase on the market. During the majority of the year, these insects serve a crucial role in keeping pest populations under control. As a result, extreme caution must be exercised while spraying pesticides in order to avoid causing harm to these important species.

How To Get Rid Of Tent Caterpillars

Important to note: Despite the fact that more than 80 species of predators and parasites have been found in the United States, none of them are now available for purchase. During the majority of the year, these insects play a critical role in sustaining pest populations. This means that while spraying pesticides, caution must be exercised in order to ensure that these beneficial species are not negatively affected.

To control a pest in your garden you need to understand its life-cycle.

Tent caterpillars can be found in all three of the following kinds, depending on your geographic location. Despite the fact that they seem different from one another, they both cause the same sort of damage to your trees. Contrary to the fall webworm, which may be spotted in trees throughout the late summer and early fall, these are not the same thing.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars

In color, the Eastern Tent Caterpillars are mostly black, with a white stripe running down the middle of their back and a row of bright blue dots on either side of their body. Cherry, apple, and crabapple trees are among their favorite food sources, although they will also consume other types of trees such as shade trees.

Western Tent Caterpillars

The Western Tent Caterpillar is a yellowish-brown caterpillar with a series of blue and orange dots running down its back. They eat fruit from trees such as cherry, apple, plum, willow, birch, poplar, and oak.

Forest Tent Caterpillars

The Forest Tent Caterpillar has a similar appearance to the Eastern Tent Caterpillar in terms of coloration. They are black with white keyhole-shaped markings running down the rear of their bodies. Unlike other tent caterpillars, which build nests in the forks of trees, these caterpillars form a silk mat along the surface of the branches they feed on. Tent caterpillars are one of the most gregarious forms of caterpillars, and they are members of the moth family Lasiocampidae. The eastern tent caterpillar is the most common variation seen in our region, and it is the most common variety in the world.

  • These eggs develop swiftly, and by three weeks, the caterpillars will have fully developed into butterflies.
  • Their hatching is timed to coincide with the regrowth of the trees’ leaves.
  • These are initially extremely little, but as the caterpillars develop in size, they become bigger.
  • Look very closely at the forks of the tree branches, since this is where they prefer to make their nests.
  • Typically, this occurs soon before sunrise, throughout the middle of the day, and shortly after sunset.
  • They then return to their nest once they have done feasting.
  • In the final stage of the caterpillar’s existence, they separate from one another in order to select a suitable location for forming their individual cocoon.
  • They are nocturnal, and you have most certainly seen these medium-sized brown moths fluttering around in the dark throughout the night.

They reproduce quickly after hatching, and the females die within a few days of depositing her clutch of eggs. Because you now understand the tent caterpillar’s life cycle, it will be much easier to maintain control.

How To Kill Tent Caterpillars In Your Trees

Tent caterpillar nests are frequently destroyed by burning them with a tiny propane torch, which is highly effective. This is the method I learnt as a child, and I’ve witnessed many others use it to eliminate caterpillar nests. However, there are several drawbacks to this approach.

  1. Caution should be exercised while burning caterpillar nests since it may cause harm to your tree and leave huge, unsightly black patches behind. This is something I’ve done in the past, and it is quite unsightly! It is possible to get around this by cutting the branch after it has been burnt. However, this causes further harm to the tree, and what if your nest is located at a high point in the tree or on a huge branch? You really don’t want to inflict any serious damage to your trees, do you? Indeed, isn’t that what you’re attempting to protect them from in the first place
  2. When the weather is windy, it might also be difficult to burn the nest with a torch since little torches are readily blown out of their holders. If the nest is located at a high point in your tree, going up to it or using a ladder is not the safest option when using a torch
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So the really easy way that we came up with for killing tent caterpillars is simplyvegetable oil!

It’s really that straightforward! The understanding of the caterpillar’s life cycle is essential to make this work. You must wait until all of the caterpillars are in the nest at the same time before spraying the nest well with vegetable oil. Because insects breathe via their skin, this method is effective. When they are covered with oil, they are unable to breathe and die within minutes. However, because I’m a frugal person, I keep the wasted oil from our deep fryer, which I then use in this recipe.

I really like the heavy-duty spray bottles that I’ve been using.

I frequently use them not just to make an oil spray for caterpillars, but also to apply combinations of tea tree oil or liquid fertilizers as a foliar spray on the leaves of plants.

The Benefits Of Using Vegetable Oil

  1. It kills the caterpillars swiftly and does not leave any unsightly black patches on the leaves of your plants. If left to its own devices, the nest will disintegrate and collapse in a short period of time. It is also lot simpler to spray the oil on the nest that is higher up in your tree than it is to attempt to burn them with a torch.

Would you like to see just how well this works?

In addition to killing the caterpillars swiftly, it does not cause any unsightly black patches on your trees. If left to its own devices, the nest will disintegrate and collapse in a short period of time; As an added bonus, it is far less difficult to spray oil on the nest that is higher up in your tree than it is to attempt to burn them with a torch.

Other Ways To Control Tent Caterpillars

While spraying the nests with vegetable oil is my preferred method of controlling these pests, it is no longer effective once they have outgrown the communal nest. However, there are still simple ways to get rid of tent caterpillars on your trees and in your yard. Read on for more information.

How To Get Rid Of Tent Caterpillars With Dish Soap

Another quick and simple method for getting rid of caterpillars is to spray them with dish detergent. The key to making a dish soap spray effective is to avoid allowing the soap to froth excessively. Fill the spray container almost to the brim with water, then add 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap per gallon of water and shake well. After that, finish topping off the water supply. Give the sprayer a slight shake to ensure that all of the soap is included. This helps to keep the soap suspended in the water rather than having it float to the surface as bubbles.

Use BTK Spray

The best alternative if your trees are being devoured by tent caterpillars but you can’t discover a nest to remove is to use an organic BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis) spray, which is safe and effective.

This naturally occurring bacterium is only harmful to caterpillars, and it is completely safe to use around birds and bees. Simply spray BTK on the leaves of your trees, and the caterpillars will be killed as a result of eating the poison.

Download a tip sheet to help you remember how to spot tent caterpillars in your garden and control them safely!

Do you have a cucumber beetle infestation in your yard or garden? See how I got rid of them in a quick and simple manner! A homeschooling parent of six children, Kim Mills lives on an urban farmstead in the province of Ontario, Canada. She likes blogging at Homestead Acres, where she shares money-saving strategies as well as information on how to cultivate and store your own food.

tent caterpillar control and treatments for the yard home and garden

Tent caterpillars are a very busy pest that may be found throughout the year. They have voracious appetites and will consume nearly any plant they come upon. Their nests are unattractive, their feeding habits are detrimental to plants, and they quickly move inside practically any building, creating a shambles in the process. Tent caterpillars are covered in full in this article, which will also explain how to control local infestations and nests on your property, as well as what products to use.

  1. These animals are normally dark in appearance — primarily black – with a few lengthy, brightly colored stripes running down their backs.
  2. It is possible that these lines be brown or yellow in color.
  3. Even though they are scarcely detectable at this time, they will become more active when the surrounding plant life begins to produce their spring foliage in the coming months.
  4. In the event that the host tree or shrub on which they originated does not supply sufficient food, the ants will travel to other adjacent native plants for sustenance.
  5. Every evening after dark, the spiders will return to their host tree and begin spinning a “tent” that will continually expand to meet their ever-increasing size.
  6. These tents, which are generally ugly, are white and silky in appearance and arise where the host tree’s limbs grow in two different directions at the same time.
  7. These colonies will begin with several hundred caterpillars, and their “tents” can range in size from as tiny as a soccer ball to as huge as a compact automobile!

All of the tents will have been deserted, and caterpillars will be observed traveling in all directions, with no apparent purpose in mind.

In the course of their journey, they would frequently crawl on top of houses.

Once they have selected a comfortable area where they feel safe and sheltered, they will spin a cocoon and go through the process of transformation.

Females (adult moths) will search for a suitable host plant on which to lay eggs, and after they have located one, they will deposit 200-300 eggs on a branch that is kept together by a sticky material that is produced as part of the egg laying process.

When tent caterpillars feed, they may do a great deal of harm.

Because they will be unable to perform normal photosynthesis without their leaves, they will have to expend a significant amount of time and energy growing new leaves to replace those that have been lost, and as a result, they will be significantly more vulnerable to other problems such as disease and parasites.

Furthermore, caterpillar droppings will be found below host plants and will create a sloppy mess on automobiles, homes, lawn chairs, and other items of furniture.

They may be found beneath any host plant and can become quite a nuisance if the local populace is in high numbers and consuming the droppings.

Their excrement is corrosive, and it will “eat” through almost any type of automotive finish, causing it to deteriorate.

In proportion to the size of each individual caterpillar, the colony will expand the size of their “tent.” Despite the fact that caterpillars begin each season little and scarcely apparent, they will eventually grow to reach more than 2 inches in length, necessitating the expansion of the nest’s “tent” to suit each individual’s increased size.

  1. Don’t be shocked if you come across nests the size of a basketball or even bigger.
  2. From year to year, trees that have been effective in attracting nesting birds will attract additional birds since past generations will automatically recognize a suitable host plant.
  3. In addition, if the damage, droppings, and unsightliness of their nests aren’t enough to establish them as a legitimate annoyance, their yearly migration will undoubtedly do the trick.
  4. They will begin to leave the main nest once the larvae have consumed sufficient food in order to find an appropriate site where they may undergo transformation.
  5. They like to move sites in a safe and discrete manner, and they appear to enjoy man-made structures just as much as they do natural trees while doing so.
  6. During this period, the migrating larva will be out in large numbers, moving in all ways from the main nest, and if they come across a house or other structure, they will almost certainly attempt to make it their home for the next month.
  7. Indeed, if your property is near the tent caterpillars’ migration route, you may find yourself the victim of an invasion each and every year.

Tent caterpillars are a difficult pest to remove, but there are several extremely efficient treatments for them available.

This concentrate is essentially a concentrated bacteria in a concentrated form.

It is safe to spray thuricidal solutions on any plant, vegetable, or fruit without creating a concern, and it is an excellent preventative item to use – particularly if you are treating before the pests come.

Every two weeks, go on a retreat.

Another strategy is to place a band of INSECT GLUE around the trunk of any tree that has been identified.

Make the band at least 1 inch wide; a container of Insect adhesive will treat 3-5 big trees if the band is 1 inch wide.

This is a fantastic preventative treatment that will prevent all insects from gaining access to valuable plants in the future.

Organic products recognized and certified for caterpillar control are few, however we have discovered that BT GARDEN DUST andMULTI PURPOSE INSECT KILLER provide the most effective results.

Caterpillars that are fed with BT dust will die within 7-10 days of consuming plants and leaves treated with the dust.

Because of the height of your trees, dusting will not be an option for you.

While used on organic gardens (fruits and vegetables), this fast-acting concentrate is permitted for usage.

Use no more than 800 sq/ft of foliage to apply the mixture, which should include 5 oz per gallon of water.

The use of this concentrate on food crops is not recommended; nonetheless, it is wonderful for any tree, shrub, or even for the home’s landscape.

Bifen treatments can last for up to a month and can effectively eliminate virtually every bug that comes into contact with them on treated surfaces.

Because caterpillars have a lot of hair, you need use SPREADER STICKER in your tank mix.

When spraying plants, it is often difficult to get enough coverage due to the fact that leaves have undersides that are resistant to direct spray.

Furthermore, it will increase the direct effect that Bifen has on the caterpillars that have been targeted.

If you have a large number of nests that you wish to cure immediately, you have two alternatives.

This can be difficult due to the fact that most nests will be located high in the tree and the webbing can be quite thick.

This will ensure that all caterpillars have returned to the nest and are laying eggs inside of it.

Make three or four holes in their tent with a stick or pole.

Once the access holes have been created, spray the nest with the solution that you have prepared.

HORNET KILLER is another product that may be used as a direct therapy.

Prior to spraying the tents, you will still need to poke 3-4 holes in each of them, but once the access points have been created, soak the nest down for an efficient kill.

See also:  How To Repair Tent Netting

Remember, this is only effective for treating nests directly; it is not recommended for spraying over leaves, since this will cause harm to the tree, shrub, or other plant being treated.

Fortunately, there are two items that will both prevent them from entering and kill them if they do attempt to do so.

This concentrate, when mixed with water, can be applied to the foundation and up the side of the house a few feet to create a barrier that caterpillars will be unable to crawl through.

Cypermethrin is extremely irritating to caterpillars and will kill those that are present while also leaving a strong residue to deter future infestations.

When caterpillars are active, apply 1 gallon per 500 sq/ft of surface area and withdraw once every 2 weeks while they are active.

However, FS MP AEROSOL should be used in locations where a liquid cannot be used.

It, too, may be used along baseboards, around window frames, and even higher up on the ceiling by way of crown molding.

If you don’t act quickly, you may expect to observe a large number of adult moths hatching out of pupa cocoons in the first 1-2 months after the first invasion.

Our standard sprayer has a maximum reach of approximately 15 feet and is adequate for small applications.

It is capable of reaching distances of up to 30 feet and is fully portable due to the fact that it operates by pumping out a mixed solution from a 5 gallon bucket.

These will spray as far as your garden hose is capable of reaching.

However, once they begin their spring feeding, their chewing and devouring may cause significant damage and stress to a wide variety of trees and plants.

With any luck, this will prevent them from entering the structure.

Treat early in the season to keep tent caterpillar numbers under control; kill as many as you can once the season is in full bloom otherwise you will have that many more tent caterpillars to deal with the following year if you do not treat early in the season.

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Getting rid of forest tent caterpillars

Photo courtesy of Judy Gallagher/Flickr Forest tent caterpillars (Malacosoma disstria) are still alive and well in the months that remain until winter sets in, giving them plenty of opportunity to cause havoc in our gardens and yards. Throughout their territory, forest tent caterpillars are univoltine, which means that they only create one generation per year. They are serious defoliators and only generate one generation per year throughout their area. As stated by the state of Vermont in 2016, the forest tent caterpillar had a major influence on tree growth and had a negative impact on maple tapping operations for Vermont sugar manufacturers.

In 2016, they defoliated 25,000 acres of forestland in Vermont, according to Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources.

Forest tent caterpillars have already been discovered in Rhode Island and Connecticut for the years 2016 and 2017, and they have already defoliated thousands of acres.

About forest tent caterpillars

Although forest tent caterpillars seem quite similar to the eastern tent caterpillar in its larval stage, they do not spin visible webs like the eastern tent caterpillar. Despite the fact that they do not produce these webs, which are also known as tents, they will construct silken mats on which they will assemble as a group. They will begin at the very top of the tree, but later on, they will be more usually seen lower in the crown and on the trunk, as well as on the branches. As larvae, they will ascend higher up their host trees and will be more widely scattered across the forest as they mature.

The caterpillars will grow to be around 2 inches in length when fully developed.

Approximately 10 days after the caterpillars have spun their cocoons, adult moths will begin to appear.

How to manage them

It is possible to get rid of forest tent caterpillars if your clients are experiencing an inflow of them. There are a few strategies that may be employed to get rid of them. Customers who do not want to use pesticides on their landscaping may wish to try removing and killing the egg masses from the trees during the winter months instead. It is also possible to reduce the population by removing the cocoons throughout the summer months without the use of insecticides. During the spring season, webs may be removed with a strong stream of water or by hand or with the help of items such as broom handles or sticks, and caterpillars can be put into a pail of soapy water as a simple at-home killing treatment.

Chemical treatments can be employed in cases of extensive infestation, however ornamental fruit trees and shrubs should be prioritized because many bigger deciduous trees will recover after being fed.

Tent Worm Control: How To Get Rid of Tent Caterpillars (Tent Worms)

This page contains a general control guide for the Tent Caterpillar. Tent Caterpillars can be controlled by using the goods and procedures that have been recommended. If you follow this advice and utilize the recommended products, we promise that you will have complete control over Tent Caterpillars. Those of you who have shrubs, fruit-bearing trees, or other ornamentals in your yard or garden may have noticed Tent Caterpillars on your plants (also known as Tent Worms). Tent caterpillars are notorious for their voracious appetites and may do major harm when they invade landscapes in huge numbers, defoliating trees and wreaking havoc on the environment.

They are most commonly seen in the yard, where they graze on fallen leaves and other organic matter.

Crawling on automobiles and causing damage to the paint job with their droppings is another common occurrence for tent caterpillars.

The following do-it-yourself approach might assist you if you have an infestation of these pests on your land or even inside your home.


First and foremost, be certain that you are dealing with Tent Caterpillars or Tent Worms rather than something else. Because of misidentification, you may end up adopting the incorrect treatment approaches, which may waste your time and money if such procedures are unproductive. Tent Caterpillars exhibit the following characteristics, which might assist you in identifying them:

  • Tent Caterpillars are 2 to 2.5 inches in length and are normally black in color with an often ornate brilliant colored pattern of stripes running down their backs
  • They are also known as tent caterpillars. They hatch out of eggs in the spring, generally from a mass of 150 to 400 eggs, and are known for their hairy and brightly colored appearance. Tent Caterpillars are extremely gregarious creatures, and as they hatch from the mass, they form a white silky tent around themselves, which they use to shelter in in the crotch of a host tree. Their name comes from the fact that they live in a tent-like nest. As the caterpillars increase in size, the tent gets larger and more visible on the ground. When the caterpillars reach adulthood, they begin to leave the tent and roam around aimlessly, with no specific destination in mind. When the caterpillar finds a suitable location to pupate, it will construct a cocoon and, after a period of time, will emerge as a moth, where it will seek a partner, lay eggs, and repeat the cycle.

Tent Caterpillars may be identified on your property using the image and description provided above. If you are unsure, please contact us and we will make every effort to help you in making the accurate identification.


Inspection is critical for ensuring thorough control of a situation. Before you can cure the Tent Caterpillars, you must first determine which plants they are eating on and where their nest is located. It is important to note which trees and areas of the yard are more heavily infested so that you may target them during the inspections. Where To LookFor InfestationsBecause the majority of infestations originate in plants, begin your search in the yard. Look for fruit-bearing trees and ornamentals in particular, but don’t forget to thoroughly evaluate every plant, tree, and shrub in your yard as a result of your search.

If you come into a nest, use a stick to wrap it around and thread the silk around it as if you were creating cotton candy to keep it from falling apart.

Regardless of whether you have one or several nests, eradicating them is critical for treatment since this is where they dwell. If you have discovered Tent caterpillars or their nests, proceed with treatment as soon as possible.


Once you have determined that Tent Caterpillar activity has occurred, it is time to begin therapy. Remember to always read all product labels and follow the application directions on these labels before using any product, and to always wear personal protective equipment to keep yourself safe. Because the majority of infestations occur outside, spray your yard and ornamentals with Supreme IT to treat them both as a spot and barrier treatment. In the first step, combine and apply Supreme IT Insecticide.

  1. Aside from that, it has a lengthy residual impact, which means it can continue to control pests for up to 90 days after it was applied.
  2. This may be accomplished by measuring the length of the area and multiplying it by the breadth (length x width Equals square footage).
  3. oz.
  4. To apply Supreme, combine the product in a sprayer and spray it over the whole yard and garden using the fan spray nozzle setting to provide a good, even coverage.
  5. Also, spray ornamentals and landscaping, making sure to concentrate on non-edible plant regions alone, rather than edible ones.


Following your successful extermination of Tent Caterpillars from your yard, you need take precautions to ensure that they do not return. Check your landscape for re-emergence on a regular basis, and remove any egg masses that have accumulated in your ornamentals and fruit-bearing trees throughout the winter to prevent them from hatching in the spring. This is an excellent method of reducing their population before it becomes a problem. Early in the spring, be diligent in removing any nest or tent that you come across using a stick.

In order to maintain control, reapply every 90 days.

This is an excellent method of organically controlling their population while allowing the birds to perform all of the work.

Key Takeaways

  • It is known that the Tent Caterpillar (also known as Tent Worms) is a caterpillar species that infests and defoliates the leaves of trees and shrubs. Tent Caterpillars are a growing problem in residential yards and landscapes
  • They are so named because they have a proclivity to build a silky tent-like nest on the branches of the trees where they have taken up residence.

How To Get Rid of Tent Caterpillars in Your Yard

  • Tent Caterpillars should be controlled with an application of Supreme IT in order to protect your yard plants from damage. Fill a pump sprayer halfway with the product and spray the entire lawn, as well as any ornamentals and trees you may have

Preventing Tent Caterpillar Reinfestation

  • In the case of Tent Caterpillar reinfestation, preventative applications of Supreme IT around your yard and house perimeter can assist to reduce the possibility of reinfestation.

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