How to Get Rid of Silkworms from Trees


Silkworms, commonly referred to as tree worms, might be to fault for any unattractive tents or webs that you may have discovered in the spaces between the branches of your trees. These caterpillars have the potential to entirely strip trees of their foliage if they are present in high enough numbers. They spin massive webs, which might hinder the development of the plants in your landscape.

These destructive and invasive caterpillars may be difficult to get rid of and cause a wide range of problems. However, once you have acquired the knowledge necessary to eliminate silkworms, you should not have too much problem completely removing these critters from your home for good.

What Are Silkworms?

According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, there are four common species of invasive caterpillars known as silkworms. These include the Eastern tent caterpillar, also known as Malacosoma americanum; the forest tent caterpillar, also known as Malacosoma disstria; the western tent caterpillar, also known as Malacosoma californicum; and the Sonoran tent caterpillar, also known as Malacosoma tigris. In the late spring or early summer, the female moths deposit their eggs on the trunks of trees or on little twigs, and they utilise a sticky material to bond their eggs to the wood. Moths lay their eggs on tree trunks or on small twigs. The masses of caterpillars linger on the trees for the better part of the year, and fresh generations of these invading insects begin to hatch in the early spring.

Tent caterpillars start off by spinning very little webs, which they then expand upon as they continue to develop into larger adults. The webs often begin in the crotches of the limbs, and their primary purpose is to shield the larvae from danger both at night and during stormy weather. The caterpillars, on the other hand, eat on the leaves of the tree and may entirely strip it of its foliage if they are allowed to do so. However, the webs normally do not do any damage to the trees.

The forest tent caterpillar is one of the most frequent types of caterpillars, and it is also one of the most damaging types. This is because it feeds on a wide range of shrubs, herbs, and trees within a single region. They construct their cocoons out of silk in a quite sloppy manner. Do not touch these cocoons, since doing so may cause your skin to become irritated.

Pruning to Remove Tree Worms

There are a few various approaches that may be used in order to eliminate the presence of silkworms. The level of severity of the infestation determines how aggressive of a response you need to take with your plan of action.

When you trim your trees in the winter, be sure to check for masses of eggs, which will appear as swellings on the twigs. This may be done by inspecting the trees carefully. Take off the twigs any egg masses that are attached to them. Burning webs or caterpillars might irritate your respiratory tract, so avoid doing so as much as possible. Crush the caterpillars to death, or throw them in a bowl of soapy water to drown them. This will be more effective.

Other Methods for Control

In addition to selective pruning and the physical extermination of caterpillars, the presence of some beneficial insects also contributes to the decline of tree worm populations. During the larval stage, tent caterpillars are susceptible to assault by a wide range of parasitic wasps, such as those belonging to the genera Hyoster, Cotesia, and Bracon. These invasive caterpillars are consumed by a variety of animals including birds, paper wasps, and lizards.

If the natural solutions don’t work, you may have no choice but to use a pesticide to get rid of the problem. Consider using a product as a spot treatment, spraying it in the evening or early in the morning, so that you may target the caterpillars when and where they are most likely to cluster. This will help you get rid of the caterpillars faster. You might make use of dormant oil, horticultural oil, or even items that are naturally sourced such as spinosad, insecticidal soap, or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

According to New Mexico State University, the one positive thing that can be said about silkworms is that, in most cases, the harm that they produce is rather little. It is usual for deciduous trees to put on new growth later in the year, even if they have lost the majority or perhaps almost all of their leaves.