Test Your Knowledge - August

A web-like nest around leaves at the end of tree branch
A web-like nest around a tree branch
Karen Russ, HGIC


This is a fall webworm nest.

Fall webworms are found on many kinds of trees and shrubs in late summer and fall. They create silken web-like nests around leaves at the ends of branches. All feeding occurs within the silken nests. Although the nests are unsightly, actual damage to trees is minor.

Eggs are laid on the undersides of leaves in early to midsummer and hatch in about a week. The caterpillars feed for six weeks before dropping to the ground to pupate. There may be as many as four generations in the south.

Once tents become very noticeable, the easiest way to get rid of them is to remove them by hand, or to prune them out. High nests can be broken up with a long pole or a forceful spray of water. Do not attempt to burn the nests, as severe damage to the tree could result.

Fall webworms have many natural enemies such as birds, stink bugs, wasps and flies that often eliminate this pest on their own.

Fall webworms are often confused with Eastern tent caterpillars. For more information on these two web spinning caterpillars and how to tell them apart, see Web Spinning Caterpillars at http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/turforn/to11_web_spinning_caterpillars.html.


Karen Russ
HGIC Horticulture Specialist

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.