A Caterpillar Invasion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A Caterpillar Invasion

September 17, 2003

Albany - Have you noticed all those unsightly webs in the trees around South Georgia? They're made by caterpillars. And, it's not hard to spot them at the end of limbs especially on pecan trees.

"We do seem to have more web worms in our trees this year," said east Albany homeowner Rea Spier. Spier, and her husband Mercer, hate to see the caterpillar nest each fall. "They're ruining our pecan trees," said Rea. "Yes, they not doing us any good," joked Mercer.

Dougherty County Extension Agent Lenny Wells says there are actually two types of caterpillars filling trees right now. "The tree tent caterpillar builds its nest where the limb meets the tree, and the web worm builds its nest at the end of a branch," said Wells.

Wells say the worms don't cause too much harm to the tree and are more of an eye soar than a predator. "If there are only a few nests in your tree, don't worry about it. But, if the tree is overloaded with nests year after year, the tree can be damaged."

Unlike the butterfly, the less exotic moth is not often counted or studied making it hard to tell if there are actually more web worms this year than in the past. But one thing is for sure, if they are in your yard, you'll probably tired of them already.

Extension Agents say the web worms haven't caused too much damage to the pecan crop because the pesticides farmers use normally kill the caterpillars.

Posted at 7:03PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com