Tuesday, September 7, 2010


These are some older shots of a lovely walnut tree in my parents' yard.

In addition to a few walnuts, they also have a couple of pecan trees, all of which produce abundantly even though they have quite a bit of age on them.

(The trees, not my parents. Just for clarification.)

Over the past week, we noticed the stately trees were quickly becoming covered with tent-like webs.

As if that weren't bad enough, caterpillar/worm-like nightmares started raining from the trees with each puff of wind. Basically if you breathed while walking under a tree, you were showered with furry caterpillars that clung to your hair follicles and laughed hysterically as you did everything in your power to shake them free. Whether they were there or not.

Before too long, these worms carpeted the yard and crawled up the sides of the house, on the door frames, and all over our bodies, causing us to swat, stomp and shudder even in the comfort of our own homes whether there were worms crawling on us or not.

Tent caterpillars? Maybe, but these looked different.

Bag worms? Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with what a bag worm looks like, since Chesapeake Bay Mother always made me pick the disgusting bags off her shrubs when I was a young indentured servant girl. These are not bag worms.

A quick google search points in the direction of an anxiety disorder brought on by an enormous infestation the fall web worm.

I've never heard of a fall web worm. Ever.

And yet here I am we are, potentially suffocating drowning in them.

According to a University of Illinois site whose web address was way too long to link to:

Fall webworm as the name implies usually occur later in the season becoming especially noticeable in August and September. They build large, protective nests (webs) that usually start on the ends of branches, unlike tent caterpillars. Nests increase in size as caterpillars feed. They do not leave the nests until they are ready to pupate. Heavily infested trees can be completely covered with nests up to three feet long. Fall webworm feeds on over 120 different species of deciduous trees including crabapple, ash, oak, elm, maple, hickory, sweet gum, and black walnut. They generally don't feed on conifers.

Have you seen these? Is this a web worm or is it some other alien mutant nightmare that will soon "pupate" all over our living space?

Does anyone else feel worms crawling up their arms even though there's nothing there? Am I the only one who finds pupating only slightly more revolting than nesting?


Country Girl said...

I believe we have a few of these on some of the trees here on this property where I live. Ick. Now I'm itching.

Mental P Mama said...


deborah said...

Ugh! I feel them in my hair. Now I'm itching. I'm scratching. I'm pulling out my hair..little green men are hatching out and parachuting to the floor arghhhhhh!!! Going to go wash these men right out of my hair, wish me luck!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Oh, gross. And how unfortunate for that stately old tree. I think "pupate" sounds like something my son will probably learn about in "health ed" in 7th grade.

Deltaville Jamie said...

Since I work for a lawn and tree/shrub care company, I am all too familiar with webworms, and many other worms, some who actually work here. I noticed that whole tidewater area seemed to have a large infestation of webworms, aren't you lucky. If you say "tick" I immediately feel them crawling all over my body.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Now that is creepy!
I am so not a fan of worms.

big hair envy said...

Pupate? Bwahahahahaha!! Yep, I'm seven...

Daryl said...

Gross .. be thankful they are not ringworm spores

~Ashley~ said...

We have them all over our pecan trees. They're sorta creepy.

Linda said...

They are creepy and yes thank you, now I'm itchy!
That looks like a pretty good infestation. I do believe in those numbers they can kill the tree. Might want to have the ground treated under those trees to kill the pupates. Otherwise you'll have them again next year & worse.

foolery said...

They look like they've got a jump on killing that tree already, if they eat all of it's leaves. Yikes!