In the garden, September 13th

Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 10:02 AM EDT
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Caterpillars have Fall-en in love with autumn. Sharon and Charlie will explain why in this week’s In the garden.

“Sharon: Charlie I’ve been seeing more and more of these caterpillar webs this fall.

Charlie: yes they’re all over the place usually you think of insects as kind of being on the decline come fall, come September or so, but there’s one insect that doesn’t. Sharron: It loves fall.

Charlie: it actually loves fall and you see it all over it’s the fall webworm. So the fall webworm creates these webs as you’re describing at the branch ends so that’s how you distinguish it from like a tent caterpillar. Tent caterpillar’s first of all are usually seen in the spring an interesting thing is they make their web at the branch crutches and that caterpillars go out from there to feed where as the fall webworm they just enclose, ingulf the whole branch so they feed on the leaves inside the safety of the web. Pretty smart Ha? So you’ll see them all over the place they’ll defoliate branches. They’re on all kinds of deciduous trees, cherry.

Sharron: I was going to say it looks like the light leaves are dying not just in the web but all around it. Charlie: yes so you’ll see them on Cherry and oak and ash trees and apple and plum trees and it’s not really much of a problem because they are eating the leaves that will be dropping in a few weeks anyway. Sharron: they’ll come back in the spring?

Charlie: yes the leaves will come back in the spring so you really don’t have to do much to control them but if you don’t like the look of them or if you have a young tree that has been defoliated a number of times you might have to do something about it. So what you can do is just take a broom stick or a pole whatever you got you stick it into the web and just jostle it around a little bit because there’s about 40 different predators and parasites of the fall webworm so if you open up the Web they get in and they take care of it for you.

Sharron really?

Charlie: yes and if you’re really desperate You can also spray it with BT which is the same thing we use on cabbage worms and that will kill the fall web worm caterpillars Sharon: OK but you could just leave it alone and look the other way?

Charlie: or looking the other way sometimes looks works really well!"

That’s all for this week’s segment on In the garden.

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