Tent Caterpillar Saga, Ch. 4: Aw, c’mon already.

a note from Dolly

*sigh*  And so it begins all over again.

The tent caterpillars that survived pupation are beginning to hatch, and the resulting light brown moths are showing up everywhere.  I mean, everywhere.  They look like this:

Adult

Adult

If yours are anything like mine, you might find them hanging around in groups on the exterior of a sunny window.  As far as moth I.Q. goes, theirs seems to be pretty low, which makes them easy targets to swat.  (I’m finding tent caterpillars in general to be not very bright.)  They do leave a gross yellow smear after you swat them, though, so keep the Windex handy.

They also seem to be immediately interested in reproduction (the cads!) and I am finding their egg cases on the twigs of my fruit trees already.  Here’s a reminder of what an egg case looks like:

Egg Case

Egg Case

The case may wrap fully around the twig, as seen here, or halfway, depending on the size of the twig, or it may lay flat against a limb or trunk.  You want to look for a little piece of dry foam; early on, the cases are off-white and later will turn grey.  They peel off pretty easily, with no damage to the tree.

And if you find one of these little guys in your house:

Our hero: the adult tachinid fly.

Our hero: the adult tachinid fly.

…set it free!  Remember that the parasitic tachinid fly wishes to lay its eggs in the heads of tent caterpillars — and who are we to argue with nature?

For more of our series on Tent Caterpillars — their habits, biology, and how to control them — click here.

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