EASTERN TENT CATERPILLARS
What ever you call them, they seem to be all over OUR area; up in the trees, lower or upper branches and even on my peony! YUK! Where-ever they are, I don't like them. When you look at them, up close they are pretty ugly!
What are they? They are Eastern Tent Caterpillar nests that appear in crotches or end of branches of trees, shrubs, and even my peony! The little caterpillars feed all around those silken nests sometimes defoliating large parts of the tree.
In the summer the adult female moths lay masses of eggs around twigs. The newly hatched caterpillars are the ones that spin those webs. When it's warm and sunny they are out chomping. The "worms" drop to the soil to pupate and the whole cycle begins again.
There are a few ways to deal with them. You can cut the nests, branch and all, right out of the tree and put them in plastic bags to be dumped into the garbage. OR you can spray them with Bacillus thuringiensis while the caterpillars are small. This is a bacterial insecticide that doesn't harm beneficial insects.
Also, if you have them in your trees, try to remove the egg masses when you find them in the winter. That will at least control them somewhat.
If you have them, share with us how you deal with them by posting a comment below.