Eastern tent caterpillars may be the only insects recognized by their homes rather than their appearance. These sociable caterpillars live together in silk nests, which they build in the heart of cherry and apple trees.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars

What Will Happen To My Landscape?

Eastern tent caterpillars feed on the leaves of some favorite ornamental landscape trees, making their presence a concern to most homeowners. The caterpillars feed on leaves of these host trees, and may cause significant defoliation when present in large numbers.

What Can I Do About Tent Caterpillars?

Remove the caterpillars by hand. The caterpillars will rest inside their tent after they feed during the evening. When you see a large group of caterpillars in the tent, use a stick or gloved hands to pull the tent from the branches, caterpillars and all. For a large tent, you can wind the silk around a stick as you pull it from the tree. You can crush the caterpillars or drop them in a pan of soapy water. In the fall, once leaves have fallen, look for egg masses on twigs of the host trees. Prune out any you find, or scrape them from the branch and destroy them. A combination of cultural and chemical control is often required to control tent caterpillars. Most local hardware stores carry insecticides that will control tent caterpillars. Because these sprays can cause injury to certain plants, read the label thoroughly before using and apply according to the directions. Depending on the severity of the damage, more than one insecticide application may be required for complete control. Combating tent caterpillars can be a timely and unpleasant weekend task!

How Can Natural Way Help?

Prevention is the key in controlling tent caterpillars. Here at Natural Way we have certified professionals who are used to preventing and controlling insects like tent caterpillars. Our 6 Point Protection Program will provide several critically timed sprays to the landscape that will help control tent caterpillars, extend the life of the landscape and minimize overall damage.

Even though tent caterpillars will not generally kill a plant by themselves, the plant or tree will become more susceptible to other problems and its appearance will be unsightly.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Close Up

Close up photo of an Eastern Tent Caterpillar – credit: Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University,