The Hunry Caterpillers

Asked August 18, 2019, 9:20 PM EDT

I noticed that one of our trees in our yard in Silver Spring has had several branches decimated by dozens of hungry caterpillars. I haven't noticed them before so I thought I'd ask if this was typical or unusual.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

It has been a banner year for caterpillars (and consequently butterflies and moths!) Many species tend to be gregarious, as are these orange-striped oakworms.

Except in the case of young, small trees, their feeding does not harm a tree. Trees have many extra leaves--more than they need. And, this late in the growing season losing a few leaves will not hurt them.

If you can reach them, you can always put on some gloves and pull them off. Drop in a bucket of soapy water to drown.

Ellen