GREENSBORO, NC -- When you think of the bugs of summer, they can be pretty - like fireflies, lady bugs, or butterflies. Others can be pesky - like mosquitoes and June bugs. But many viewers are asking 2 Wants To Know what's building the web-looking things in your trees. Is it a spider? And is it damaging the trees? 2 Wants To Know turned to Rick Bowling at the Greensboro Science Center for the answer.
The curator of reptiles and amphibians says, "What you’re seeing this time of the year, that sometimes resembles spider webs, are really from a little caterpillar often referred to as the "fall web worm."
Rick says a lot of them come out in late summer, early fall and they build big webs around branches of the trees. "All the eggs are laid inside the cob web and on the leaves". Once this happens the leaves on that part of the tree dies, because of the cob webs. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves from the tress."
Rick says the "fall web worms" can put cob webs on a variety of trees such as sour woods, black gum and oak. "In the spring, we see a lot of cob webs on the fruit trees - wild cherry and crab apple trees".
Rick says we also have the tent caterpillar. "They also make big cob webs where they all congregate in the evenings, and through out the day, they go out and feed."
Rick says this is the common little fuzzy caterpillar that a lot of the kids will see in the summer time and pick up. They are completely harmless but they do eat the vegetation and sometimes can damage some of the wild cherry trees and other fruit trees.