Have you started seeing web-like structures in the branches of your trees? You may be dealing with a widespread pest that isn’t talked about enough considering how often we see them: tent caterpillars. They’re the larvae of different kinds of moths that live in your trees and end up feeding on the leaves. They get their name from the silk tents that build in trees, which can be unsightly but also defoliate your trees as well. It’s important to control tent caterpillars if you want to keep your landscaping safe from infestations.
The Lifecycle of a Tent Caterpillar
Whenever you’re struggling with a pest impacting your landscaping, you want to think about its natural lifecycle first. One of the more common kinds of tent caterpillars, the Eastern variety, typically appear in early spring, and their lifecycle is over by the summer. The good news is that trees they nest in are generally able to grow new foliage and won’t outright die. That said, they can still do some serious damage to the health and appearance of your trees.
It’s important to note that they also lay their eggs from January to March. Those eggs then hatch once spring comes around, and the larvae feed and develop into adults. Throughout the summer and fall, adult moths begin laying new eggs.
Using Oils and Sprays
Spraying trees with specifically made oil concentrates can kill the eggs of caterpillars as well as other insects. It functions by interrupting an insect’s hormonal balance, causing them to die before molting into their next life stage. This requires you to think ahead enough that you use the oil when the caterpillars are still dormant. If they’re in any other stage of development, you may want to look into products designed explicitly for killing caterpillars, but that are safe for other kinds of creatures.
Other Ways to Protect Landscaping
If you don’t want to take advantage of the products out there, you can go the natural route too. Pruning your trees can help. Introducing natural predators like birds or even wasps can be a benefit. Notably, they are a favorite food source of one of our region’s most exotic and elusive birds, the yellow-billed cuckoo. If you’re only experiencing the issue in one tree and there are enough birds where you live, a bird feeder could be effective.
All of Your Landscaping Needs from Atlantic Maintenance Group
Atlantic Maintenance Group is a full-service landscaping company, providing maintenance, design, and construction, as well as snow removal, and asphalt and concrete services. We are your source for complete landscape and facility maintenance for commercial and residential properties throughout Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. We are a self-performing landscaping company, meaning we don’t hire subcontractors, and senior management is involved with every project. Our highly trained team of professionals receives constant, ongoing education on the latest industry trends, updates, and safety measures. This ensures we can deliver outstanding customer service and results to our clients, regardless of the size of your job.