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Webworms weaving their way in and out of your plants; how to get rid of them

2 weeks 6 days 52 minutes ago Tuesday, June 25 2024 Jun 25, 2024 June 25, 2024 5:30 PM June 25, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Right now in Southeast Louisiana, you'll see lots of fuzzy light blond caterpillars called fall webworms. 

"In the spring going into the summer, what we've been seeing in the nursery lot and across Baton Rouge is the eastern tent caterpillar or webworm, and they make webs in big leaf trees, in the corners of branches, usually it's up high where you can see it," Beau Mutrie with Louisiana Nursery said.

They don't sting, but they enjoy eating tree leaves and creating large webs to munch on them undisturbed. They'll only be around for a few weeks, but it could be worrisome if it looks like they're destroying your plants.

"If I see a really bad infestation, even then I'm not worried about the plant dying; it's more of an aesthetic thing and how long it takes for the tree to re-foliate," Mutrie says.

For those concerned about excessive webs on their trees or seeking to protect fruit and nut trees, there are pesticides available that specifically target pests while sparing beneficial insects. These pesticides include Bacillus thuringiensis or chlorantraniliprole.

"I would use the caterpillar killer with BT, that's a biological insecticide,” Mutrie said. “These products are organic labels, and are safe to use up until the day of harvest."

There’s also some with spray adapters you plug into your hose and it'll reach up in the canopies, can get under the leaves, and it will penetrate the webs. Though unsightly, infestations of webworms will not kill your tree. Healthy trees will recover naturally from webworm damage with no long-term effects.

"It's really not that big of a deal, if you're someone who needs a perfectly manicured yard, I'd say you should be applying systemic products beforehand to stop this problem before it starts," Mutrie said.

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