The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Fall webworm

Webworm caterpillar

I haven't seen a single tent caterpillar this year, but the fall webworms (Hyphantria cunea) have come to visit our farm for the first time ever. I'm not glad to see them.

Caterpillar web

Like tent caterpillars, webworms hatch out in large groups and then spin webs around themselves to protect their tender bodies. Since predators can't easily get to the caterpillars inside, the insects make short work of leaves within their webs. In our yard, the webworms have invaded the red raspberries, elderberries, pears, and hazels.

The good news is, clipping off the affected limb and throwing it over the hill seems to do a pretty good job of protecting the plant in question. So I guess webworms are more of an annoyance than a scourge. They would have been even less annoying if I hadn't waited two weeks to identify and deal with them, afraid that a new and terrifying invasive had come to call!



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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If you just relocate them "over the hill," won't they complete their lifecycle and come calling again later?
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Fri Jun 19 18:36:58 2015
Rhonda --- Unfortunately, I've seen lots of wild populations in the nearby woods that I couldn't even begin to destroy. So I figure they're here for good. As long as this batch of caterpillars doesn't hurt my fruit trees, I'll just work on eradicating them within the core homestead at a younger age next year. And maybe by then, the ones in the woods will have built up enough of a population to attract natural predators.
Comment by anna Fri Jun 19 19:15:31 2015





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