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Eastern Tent Caterpillars Web

Kids Activity: Hunt for Eastern Tent Caterpillars!

Eastern Tent Caterpillars are fuzzy bugs that are fun to find outside. Sometimes you can see them crawling along the sidewalk or on the trunk of a tree. They’re fun to pick up and look at closely, but did you know that Eastern Tent Caterpillars can do a lot of damage to trees? Kids can help trees by looking for Caterpillar nests!

What are Eastern Tent Caterpillars?

Eastern Tent Caterpillars are actually larvae, and they will eventually make a cocoon for themselves and then turn into a Lappet Moth. The caterpillars have to grow big and strong enough to transform, so they need to eat. And they can eat a LOT!

Eastern Tent Caterpillars Lappet Moth
Eastern Tent Caterpillars will eventually transform into Lappet Moths.

Why Are These Bugs Bad for Trees?

These bugs can severely “defoliate” a tree. Defoliate means they eat all the leaves off of the tree, and a tree needs leaves to turn sunlight into food. Without leaves, a tree can become very sick and even die!

How to Find Eastern Tent Caterpillars Webs

These cute caterpillars are born in the spring time, and they are very social bugs. They love to hang out in groups with all their friends and family. They all work together to build a tent web around themselves. They build the web in the crotch of tree branches, which is the “V” where two branches meet. This web protects them while they eat all of the leaves off the tree.

These Caterpillars love lots of different kinds of trees, including Wild Cherry, Apple, Crabapple, Ash, Birch, Maple, Oak, and Poplar Trees. Look up into the trees’ branches for white tent, like webs.

Although these caterpillars love to hang out in big groups, you can also find them wandering around on their own. If you see a caterpillar on the sidewalk, look up! You might see the tree he crawled away from, and you can check all the branch crotches for webs! If you find a tree under attack by Eastern Tent Caterpillars, show a grown-up. They can check out the Giroud Website to find out how to get these hungry bugs out of their tree!

Have fun hunting for Eastern Tent Caterpillars! You’re doing your part to help trees, and that’s really cool! Just for fun, check out this cool video of a Caterpillar Dance Party!

Author: Jeanne Hafner

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