Facing Fall Webworms

By Jessica Crabtree 

Typically, web worms receive a bad reputation for their appearance in trees, disturbing the pristine look of a yard. Through much of August and all of September, large spots of white, silken webs could be seen throughout trees. At first glance, maybe a few took up residence. A few weeks later, many more joined. In this piece we will indentify the fall webworm as well as give the various methods in controlling the eye-sore.

Fall webworms occasionally get confused with bag worms. Hyphantria cunea (Drury) or fall webworms appear in the fall. They are native to North America, attaching themselves to more than 88 kinds of plants according to the Texas AgriLife Extension from a 2015 article titled, “Fall Webworm” By Bill Ree, Extension Program Specialist II–Entomology and Marty Jungman, Extension Agent–IPM. Such plants include many fruit, nut, ornamental trees and shrubs. Most popular are the pecan trees.

Fall webworm’s preference in plants changes per region. For instance, in West Texas the webworm prefers mulberry, poplar and willow. In East Texas, sweetgum, oak, hickory and pecan are a favorite. Surprisingly enough, the fall web worm will not attack pines and other needle-bearing trees, better known as conifers. (The Pinophyta, also known as Coniferophyta or Coniferae, or commonly as conifers, are a division of vascular land plants containing a single class, Pinopsida. They are gymnosperms, cone-bearing seed plants.)

To read more pick up a copy of the November 2017 NTFR issue. To subscribe call us at 940-872-5922.