If you have spotted what appear to be large “web nets” in trees around your home, it may look like Halloween came early.
Unfortunately… these web nets are not fun decorations but instead may represent a pest infestation.
But what is this webbing? And what causes it?
These collections of webbing are not actually nets, but actually are large nests that hold the larvae of the fall webworm. As the name might suggest, these pests are active primarily during the fall months, usually between July and September. However, the rest of their name is slightly misleading, as they are actually caterpillars as larvae and moths as adults. Webworm larvae hatch and develop inside of their airborne nests and feed of leaves to grow.
Adult fall webworm moths typically appear in late June or early July (depending on the weather). The female moths, which are pale-gray in color, will leave grouped eggs on the undersides of leaves. These eggs will hatch in less than a week, and the new larvae will begin to create the webbed nests that they are known for. These webs allow them to access leaves to feed and grow. Fully developed larvae are pale green with dark black or yellow spots, with long white hairs sticking out like needles from their bodies.
As they spread throughout the tree, they will often leave behind skeletonized sections of the tree as they defoliate the areas that they feed. In large infestations, this can sometimes cover a significant portion of the tree, fully stripping it of its leaves.
The larvae will continuously feed and molt for around 6 weeks, after which they will be fully mature. Once they have finished growing, the larvae will move down to the soil, where they survive the winter in specialized cocoons until the following summer. Depending on the climate, more than one generation of larvae may fully develop before it becomes too cold for new larvae to hatch.
So if I see these nests in trees around my property, should I be concerned?
While it may seem like the feeding larvae are a major threat, the truth is that most of their damage is largely aesthetic. Fall webworm larvae often target hardwood deciduous trees, which lose their leaves annually. Webworms hibernate through the winter; therefore, they are typically in your trees for only a couple of months at a time and will be completely gone by the end of autumn.
Since the webworms feed on the leaves just before they fall off, it rarely causes any significant damage to the health of the tree.
That said, their voracious appetites can often cause unsightly aesthetic damage to your trees, and the webworms will sometimes continue to return each year if left unchecked. If you are concerned about the ornamental value of your trees, it is possible that treatment may be necessary.
How does I effectively treat for webworms?
Pesticide treatment should only be used sparingly and as a last resort. While it can help to control the webworm population, it will also kill natural predators to the webworms and other, more destructive pests.
If you are a Panama City homeowner, we here at Arrow Pest Service would like to be your one call solution for any pest problems! We have been an industry leader in pest control and lawn care services for year, and we have the expertise needed to safely and comprehensively tackle any current or future pest threats to your home!
In fact, we are so confident that we can deal with the pests in your home, all of our treatment services come backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee! This means that, if you are not completely satisfied with your treatment services, you won’t pay a penny!
So if you are in need of a fast, effective, and risk-free pest control service, give us a call today at 850-874-1900!
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