Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unwanted Guests

The Eastern tent caterpillar has invaded my father's Crimson King maple.

I am furious!

I went away for four days and came home to this colossal attack, but immediately got to researching what this was, how it happened, and how to eliminate it.

The good news is that the tree will live.

The bad news is that its foliage will look crappy for awhile.

I treated the leaves with two quarts of BT (bacillius thuringiensis) which was the best alternative to a pesticide that I could find and it seems to have done the trick.

It took approximately two days for all the live caterpillars to stop moving around, and by the third day, I saw none on the leaves.

I'm not sure but those black dots may be eggs so I'll be treating again this evening.  (Best to use this stuff at dusk or dawn and I'm not drinking my coffee with BT in the other hand.)

Such is life in the garden:  if it isn't the deer, it's the tent worm.  If it isn't the tent worm, it's the Japanese beetle.  Or floods.  Or drought.

I wouldn't want it any other way.


  1. Ugh...they create such a mess, don't they...hope your BT does the trick!

  2. It sure did, Scott. Tree is producing new leaves with no evidence of damage. I am doing the happy dance!

  3. I had them this year too, in a young sweetgum tree and in one of my small black gum trees. I just cut the infected branch off and put it in the trash. Both trees are a little lopsided, but not terribly deformed by the pruning. Fortunately I haven't seen any other signs.

    There were years in the 1970s and 1980s when CT and RI forests were completely defoliated by these tent catepillars. I can remember hearing them munch, it was that loud, in the trees overhead, and their poop rained down, literally. We have not had that kind of infestation now for years. But my memory of it makes me really HATE seeing any tent catepillars anywhere. Your photos make me shudder.....



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