Like a moth to a flame: What are these caterpillar cocoons?
August 20, 2011 3:53 PM   Subscribe

[Worcester, MA filter] What type of caterpillars/moths make their cocoons on trees like this? I see them every year and always forget to ask!
posted by Draccy to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Looks like tent caterpillars: wikipedia, photos.
posted by likeso at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2011

Best answer: ...or Gypsy moth.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 3:59 PM on August 20, 2011

Best answer: Was gonna say gypsy moth, too. I grew up in Connecticut and we had tons and that's what we called em.
posted by Glinn at 4:09 PM on August 20, 2011

Grew up in Connecticut in the 1970s, and we'd call these tent caterpillar nests.

And then the adults would kill them with fire and other nastiness - when I was really little, there was a huge explosion of tent caterpillars one summer, the trees were denuded, and my mom said she could hear the sound of thousands of caterpillars chomping on leaves and pooping.

I'd say a lot of adults in my youth had a hatred or at least a phobia about these nests

posted by zippy at 5:32 PM on August 20, 2011

You should report those. The state will come out and spray.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:58 PM on August 20, 2011

More likely this time of year is fall webworm, usually more of a cosmetic problem than a serious issue.
posted by Red Loop at 6:02 PM on August 20, 2011

Hey, I just spent the afternoon cutting out fall webworm nests in my apple and hickory trees!

Was curious about tent caterpillars, so I looked up the differences between tent caterpillars and fall webworm. It seems that tent caterpillars appear in the spring while fall webworms appear in the fall. Both are usually harmless to mature, healthy trees.
posted by bCat at 8:30 PM on August 20, 2011

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