Ever look up and think, what insect is building a web in my tree? If you’ve recently noticed a large web in one of your trees, you might also be wondering how big the spider must be that created such a thick nest in such little time. Contrary to that assumption, the webbing Marylanders are noticing in trees throughout the state aren’t built by spiders at all. Take a look at what local tree pest is to blame for these unsightly webs, and what to do when you find them in the trees on your own property.
Although these web-like nests might look like the result of a spider working overtime, they’re actually built by insects known as webworms. These tree pests, despite what their name may suggest, are caterpillars that build thick nests as they feed on trees.
Webworm Habits and Your Trees
Fruit trees are the webworms’ ideal place to feed, but there are nearly one hundred different tree species in Maryland in which these pests can be found. Webworms are most often spotted by Marylanders in late summer and early fall. This is due to the seasonal habits of these caterpillars, which typically follow this pattern each year:
- Winter: Egg-laying season
- Spring: Egg-hatching season
- Summer: Feeding season
- Fall: Web-building season
If you see this webbing on your trees in the spring, there’s a good chance the nests belong to Eastern tent caterpillars: an insect that builds nests in trees for shelter in early spring before spinning cocoons and emerging as moths just weeks later.
Webworms: Harmless or Dangerous to Trees?
While webworms do not often pose a significant threat to established or mature trees, they do have the potential to negatively impact early growth capabilities of younger trees. If these insects inhabit and feed on young trees in the beginning stages of growth, this can result in significant leaf loss. If the tree has not yet had a chance to thrive, leaf loss can be difficult to recover from without human intervention.
Let Our Expert Arborists Care for Your Trees
Whether an invasive pest has damaged the trees on your property or you need a tree removed to keep your home and family safe, Nelson Tree Specialist has the right solution for you. Our professional tree care team is equipped with the tools and expertise to handle just about any issue you might have, so give us a call today and get your trees the care they need.