How To Get Rid Of Tent Worms

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

Even though tent caterpillars and autumn webworms are commonly mistaken for one another, they are completely distinct. In early spring, tent worms are active, whereas webworms are active in the late summer and early autumn. Rather than in the forks of branches, tent worms build tent-like nests, whereas webworms build nests at the extremities of branches. Fall webworms construct nests that contain foliage or leaves as well. caterpillars in a tent don’t have this problem! In addition to wild cherry trees, tent worms also favor other decorative fruit trees.

Aside from the fact that their webs are ugly, tent caterpillars seldom inflict significant damage to trees.

This normally does not kill trees, since they continue to grow new leaves, but it can make them more susceptible to disease and other issues in the long run.

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?

Wizzie Brown contributed to this article. Tent caterpillars attack a variety of broadleaf trees and shrubs, causing unattractive webs, or tents, to appear on the leaves. When their populations reach a critical mass, the caterpillars can defoliate trees, causing them to develop more slowly. They prey on ornamental and fruit trees, among other things. Early and correct identification of tent caterpillars, knowing their life cycle, and the use of suitable cultural or chemical management strategies are all essential for their eradication from the environment.

The eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum, is the most troublesome of the four.

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.


Female moths lay their egg masses on tree trunks or tiny twigs from the late spring to early summer. (Fig. 1). Spumaline is a sticky, foamy material that is used by the females of all Texas caterpillar species except the Sonoran tent caterpillar in order to “glue” the eggs to the bark or twigs of trees. The spumaline also functions as a protective shell over the egg mass, providing a firm, durable coating. Summer, fall, and winter are all spent with egg masses remaining on the trees. During the early spring, as the leaves of their host plants begin to appear, caterpillars, or larvae, hatch from the eggs.

  • Small webs are formed by tent caterpillars, which expand in size as they mature.
  • 2), where it provides protection for the larvae at night and during wet periods.
  • Because tent caterpillars eat in clusters, defoliation is frequently concentrated.
  • It lives in a little web spun by the Sonoran tent caterpillar when it molts, but it does not do so at any other period of the year.
  • Caterpillar size increases from small (1/8 inch) to giant (13/4 inch) as it proceeds through the growth stages, or instars.
  • Forested tent caterpillars are one of the most frequent types of tent caterpillars to encounter (Fig.
  • A loosely woven resting mat is spun on the trunks and bigger branches of trees rather than a tent.
  • Towards the end of their growth in late spring, forest tent caterpillar larvae wander many yards and feed on a variety of herbs, shrubs, and trees before choosing a suitable place on which to construct a cocoon before pupating.
  • For their cocooning location, forest tent caterpillars frequently gather leaves together.
  • Handling cocoons is not recommended due to the crystalline substance’s potential to irritate sensitive skin.

4). Approximately 1 inch separates their wing spans from one another. It is the light that draws these moths in. A single generation of tent caterpillars is produced by every species. It only takes a few days for adults to reproduce and deposit eggs, after which they cease feeding.


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.

  • When you discover spider webs on twigs in the spring, prune them as soon as you notice them.
  • It is not suggested to burn the web or caterpillars since it is quite dangerous.
  • Remove the dead caterpillars from the ground and dispose of them.
  • Beneficial insects can help to lower the number of tent caterpillars.
  • Trichogramma species prey on the eggs of tent caterpillars.
  • Control through chemical means.
  • 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

Eastern tent caterpillars may be found in abundance throughout the eastern United States and the Rocky Mountains. Infestations of this species can inflict considerable harm to the look of ornamental trees, and their populations fluctuate from year to year. Soon after hatching, the caterpillars crawl up into the bends of trees where they construct webs to keep themselves warm. These parasites can be found in a range of common host trees. Eastern tent caterpillars have a hairy black body with yellow stripes and oval-shaped blue spots down the sides, and they are a kind of moth.

Gypsy moths, on the other hand, do not have this stripe.

Western Tent Caterpillars

They are commonly found in the eastern United States as well as the Rocky Mountains. Infestations of this species can inflict considerable harm to the look of ornamental trees, and their populations vary from year to year. Soon after hatching, the caterpillars crawl up into the bends of trees where they weave webs to protect their young. A number of common host trees are known to harbor them. They have a black hairy body with yellow stripes and oval-shaped blue spots down their sides, and they are a member of the tent caterpillar family.

These stripes are absent in gypsy moths.

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:

See also:  How To Tent A Turkey

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.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It is azadirachtin that is found in BioNEEM®, which is a naturally occurring Insect Growth Regulator that has been isolated from the neem seed.
  4. This product is a means of removing caterpillar infestations from a structure.

Caterpillar Killer includes Bacillus thuringiensisvar.kurstaki, a naturally occurring chemical that is non-toxic to humans, birds, and other wildlife. Caterpillars, on the other hand, are killed within a few days of exposure. This product is particularly well suited for:

  • Knowing the pest’s lifecycle is critical 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 season. In this way, the hosts have enough time to produce new foliage and are less likely to succumb to the infection. They can, however, cause harm to the beauty and health of a tree. In the months of January through March, eastern tent caterpillars lay eggs in host trees. During the following few months, the larvae eat and mature into adults, with the eggs hatching in early spring as a result. Moths begin producing new batches of eggs in the summer and continue doing so through the fall and into the winter. You can spray trees with an oil to suffocate the eggs during the winter months because the eggs are dormant during this time. Safer®Brand Caterpillar eggs are killed by BioNEEM®, a neem oil concentration, which is used to control a range of insect pests. Insects are killed before they molt into their next life stage as a result of this product’s hormonal imbalance disruption. In BioNEEM®, you will find azadirachtin, which is a natural Insect Growth Regulator that is derived from the neem seed and is beneficial to insects. However, if you don’t take action to manage the caterpillars while they are dormant, you may apply a spray such as Safer®Brand Caterpillar Killer, which will destroy pests at all phases of their development. An effective way of removing caterpillar infestations is provided by this product. Bacillus thuringiensisvar.kurstaki, a naturally occurring component in Caterpillar Killer, is non-toxic to humans, birds, and other creatures. Caterpillars, on the other hand, are killed within a few days of contact with the poison. Among the many applications for this product are:

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.

Despite the fact that tent damage is ugly, infestations of insects seldom endanger the life of trees.


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wild cherry, aspen, maple, oak, and hawthorn are among the plants that serve as hosts.
  • Webworms are known to feed on over 85 different types of trees and are found across North America and Mexico.
  • 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.

The color of their heads is either red or black. 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.

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.

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.

  • These animals are normally dark in appearance — primarily black – with a few lengthy, brightly colored stripes running down their backs.
  • It is possible that these lines be brown or yellow in color.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

See also:  How Much To Rent A Tent For A Party

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 surprised if you come across nests the size of a basketball or even bigger.
  2. From year to year, trees that have been successful in attracting nesting birds will attract more birds because previous generations will instinctively recognize a good host plant.
  3. In addition, if the damage, droppings, and unsightliness of their nests aren’t enough to establish them as a legitimate nuisance, their annual 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 location where they can undergo metamorphosis.
  5. They prefer to change locations in a safe and discrete manner, and they appear to enjoy man-made structures just as much as they do natural trees when doing so.
  6. During this time, the migrating larva will be out in large numbers, traveling in all directions 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 home 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 control, but there are some very effective 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 posing a hazard, and it is an excellent preventative material to use – particularly if you are treating before the pests arrive.

Every two weeks, go on a retreat.

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

Make the band at least 1 inch wide; a tub of Insect glue will treat 3-5 large trees if the band is 1 inch wide.

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

Organic products approved and certified for caterpillar control are limited, but we have found 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 foliage 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 contain 5 oz per gallon of water.

The use of this concentrate on food crops is not recommended; however, it is excellent for any tree, shrub, or even on 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 might be difficult due to the fact that most nests will be located high up the tree and the webbing can be fairly 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 using 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 after the entry points have been created, soak the nest down for an efficient death.

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 products 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 retreat once every 2 weeks while they are active.

However, FS MP AEROSOL should be used in areas 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 can expect to see a large number of adult moths hatching out of pupa cocoons in the first 1-2 months after the initial 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 hope, this will prevent them from entering the structure.

Treat early in the season to keep tent caterpillar populations under control; kill as many as you can while the season is in full bloom else you will have that many more tent caterpillars to cope with the next year if you do not treat early in the season.

Our toll-free number is 1 (800) 877-7290.

to 7:00 p.m.

to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m.

(Eastern Standard Time).

We ship swiftly with 99.9 percent of all ordersshipping within 1 business day!

why it has never been easier or safer to perform your own pest control before Please show your support for our company by making a purchase using the links provided for the products we have recommended.

Just remember, it’s through your support that we can continue to provide you with answers and ensure the continued availability of this useful web site. Thank you for your patronage!

How To Get Rid Of Tent Caterpillars

This post may contain affiliate links; please see my full disclosure policy for more information. Because I am an Amazon Associate, I receive money when people make eligible purchases. You’ve come to this location because tent caterpillars are devouring your trees, correct? No surprise that caterpillars are a major issue for trees, and especially fruit trees, in the United States. A huge nest of tent caterpillars may quickly defoliate your trees, but don’t worry, I have a really simple method for killing the caterpillars in your trees that takes just ONE simple thing that you probably already have in your house right now.

  • Healthy trees will simply regrow a new set of leaves when they are damaged.
  • However, if your trees are young, the stress of losing their leaves might cause them to develop more slowly or, in the worst case scenario, cause them to die.
  • We had a significant infestation of tent caterpillars the first year they started to produce properly, which was really frustrating.
  • That year, we were unable to harvest our apple crop, and I vowed to myself that this would never happen again.

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

The Forest Tent Caterpillar resembles the Eastern Tent Caterpillar in appearance and behavior. On the rear of their bodies are white keyhole-shaped markings, which contrast with the black color. Unlike other tent caterpillars, which build their homes in the forks of trees, these caterpillars develop a silk mat along the surface of the branches they inhabit. In our region, the eastern tent caterpillar is the most common species, and it is also one of the most sociable caterpillars. Tent caterpillars are members of the moth family Lasiocampidae, and they are one of the most gregarious caterpillars around.

  1. Within three weeks, the eggs will have grown into caterpillars of full maturity.
  2. When they hatch, they do so at the same time that the trees are re-budging.
  3. These are initially quite little, but as the caterpillars develop in size, they become more noticeable and noticeable.
  4. Check out the forks in the tree branches, since here is where they like to make their nests the most!
  5. In most cases, this occurs soon before sunrise, throughout the middle of the day, and shortly after sunset In groups, the caterpillars leave their nest and travel to a feeding spot.
  6. Because my method of eliminating tent caterpillars is most effective when they are all in the same nest, it is critical to understand this.
  7. Themoths will hatch in approximately two weeks after building a cocoon.
  8. After hatching, the males begin reproducing immediately, whereas the females die shortly after depositing her eggs.
  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
See also:  How To Put Up A Canopy Tent

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?

Watch my video to see how simple it is to use this approach of controlling caterpillars in my fruit trees in your own yard. Isn’t it great when you can find simple and safe techniques to keep pests under control in your garden?

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 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. Follow the professional advice and product choices provided below for an inexpensive and effective Tent Caterpillar control solution.


An overview of Tent Caterpillar control is provided on this page. It is possible to get Tent Caterpillars under control by using the materials and procedures recommended. Tent Caterpillars may be completely controlled if you follow this instructions and utilize the items that are suggested. Those of you who have shrubs, fruit-bearing trees, or other ornamentals in your yard or garden may have noticed Tent Caterpillars in their colonies (also known as Tent Worms). In addition to their voracious hunger, tent caterpillars are noted for defoliating trees in big numbers, which may cause major harm to landscapes when they invade them in large quantities.

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

Crawling on automobiles and causing damage to the paint work with their droppings is something that tent caterpillars are also known to do.

The following do-it-yourself approach might assist you if you have a problem with these pests on your property or even inside your home: Follow the professional advice and product recommendations provided below for an inexpensive and effective Tent Caterpillar control solution.

  • 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

  • Infestation and defoliation of trees and shrubs are two of the most common symptoms of the Tent Caterpillar (also known as Tent Worms). Tent Caterpillars are a growing problem in residential yards and landscapes
  • They are so named because they have a proclivity to create a silky tent-like nest on the branches of the trees in which they have taken up residence.

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *