Tent Caterpillars

Pest: Tent Caterpillars (Malacosoma californicum, Malacosoma disstria)

Pest Type: Insect Pest

Major Identifying Features: The Western tent caterpillar is hairy and dull yellow brown with a row of blue spots adjacent to orange spots on top of the body, the forest tent caterpillar is dusky gray, sparsely hairy, with fine yellow-brown stripes on the shoulder and a series of white diamond shaped spots running along its back

Life Cycle: Tent caterpillars overwinter in the egg stage, eggs give rise to caterpillars in spring and early summer, they have one generation per year

Pest Rating: Minor

Management Rating: Easy to moderate

Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Major outbreak is in spring and early summer

Damage Information: Damage may be serious on individual trees, from April to June, tent caterpillars build large silken tents over leaves on which they feed, forest tent caterpillars build mats of webbing rather than tents

Management Options: Biological control with Bacillus thuringiensis sprays and cultural control with removal of infested areas




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