A web of worms!

Ah! It is that time of year again: warm sunny days followed by cool autumn nights, the smell of freshly harvested fields, and soon all the goodies and wonderful fried foods at the fair. The leaves are beginning to change into a beautifully painted masterpiece of vibrant red and yellow colors, bringing with it the warm sensation of fall, all the festivals, hayrides, and most importantly, the extra special family time we get to share this time of year. As with any season, the health of our trees is very important, and this time of year is no exception. During the fall, it is very common to see trees with webs formed in the tips of their branches, specifically those of hardwoods trees.

This common forest pest’s name is Fall Webworm. These worms are known for defoliating a wide variety of hardwood trees, and more commonly, ornamentals in landowners’ yards. Although this pest is not considered a serious threat to forest health, it can be very aesthetically unpleasant to the general public, or unappealing to the eye of you the homeowner. Webbing is very common in pecan trees, and can occur on several different branches of the tree. Defoliation will be very evident around the nest and neighboring branches. Usually, the defoliation is not harmful to the trees themselves since the trees are preparing for the dormant season of winter, where they will lose their leaves until next spring when the new sprouting occurs.

Treatment for the webworm is not normally recommended unless severe infestation has occurred. There are a few options for you if you would like to make the aesthetic appearance more appealing to the eyes:

• Prune limbs with Fall Webworm in them, just the ones that can be easily reached. Safety is always first priority.

• Remove webs that can be reached with a forked stick or some other yard tool.

• Use insecticides in early summer to kill larvae before they begin to feed on the foliage of the tree. Since the eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves in spring, this can be a difficult and costly application.

• Any removed webs should be destroyed.

If you have any questions regarding this pest or any other pest, please contact our Clinton office at 910-592-4515, or email us at Sampson.ncfs@ncagr.gov . We would love to be of assistance in any way we can.

Fall webworms are beginning to make their appearance in hardwood trees.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_worms.jpgFall webworms are beginning to make their appearance in hardwood trees.

Information provided by the N.C. Forestry Service.

Information provided by the N.C. Forestry Service.