Tent Caterpillars

Order/Family: Lepidoptera/Lasiocampidae

Description:

  • Adult moths are 1- to 1-½ inches long and mature larvae are 1- to 2-inches long.
  • Eastern tent caterpillar adult forewings are light brown with two diagonal bands. The larvae have a white stripe down the middle of the back.
  • Forest tent caterpillar – forewings are tan with two dark stripes across each wing. The larvae are blue and gray with keyhole-shaped white spots down the back and may fine white hairs on the body.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • The eastern and forest tent caterpillars overwinter as eggs which are laid in masses, encircling the twig.
  • The eggs hatch in the spring as new foliage appears.
  • Eastern tent caterpillar larvae construct a web in the fork of the tree. They leave a webbing to feed and return when done. The web is gradually enlarged as the larvae develop. They pupate in white silken cocoons on tree back, wooden fences, and buildings. The adults appear in late June and early July.