What is in our trees?

Asked October 4, 2018, 11:09 PM EDT

Can you identify what insect is infesting the trees in the pictures? If so, what information and recommendations do you have? Are they harmful or harmless to the tree? Should they be removed, destroyed, or left alone? The tree pictured is in a small wooded area between backyards in a La Plata residential community. The web-like structures have been in the tree since late summer. Thanks for your help!

Charles County Maryland

1 Response

These are the old webs of fall webworm, a native insect. It rarely does significant damage and the birds eat them, so they are beneficial in that respect. They show up every fall and sometimes in the spring. The webs will disintegrate and disappear over the winter. Populations of webworm fluctuate from year to year depending upon the weather. There were a lot this year.

Here's more about them: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/fall-webworm-trees