Tent caterpillars

Asked May 25, 2018, 5:56 PM EDT

I have destroyed a total of 5 tent caterpillar nests at separate times so far. 2 were in one of my plum trees and 2 in one apple tree and 1 in another apple tree. I live in Colfax, ND and have not seen any other nests here.
What is the best, safest way to control these pests? I have two dogs, a cat, and a daycare center across the street from me so am hesitant to spray poisons ( which probably won't get into the nests anyway).

Richland County North Dakota

2 Responses

Physical control is obviously the safest method of control, as you have done by destroying the nests. Destroying the larvae now will prevent them from developing into adult caterpillars later in June.

There is an insecticide with the active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (BT) which appears to not be harmful to humans, birds, animals and beneficial insects. The active ingredient is found in the trade names of Dipel and Thuricide. Be sure to check the label of these and other insecticides to make sure they are not harmful to others. Check the following link for additional information: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/forest-tent-caterpillars/

Curt,
Thank you for your prompt response! I will check on the BT control, but will probably just continue to destroy the nests instead. Thanks again!