Light filter

web worms.JPG

The season, I suppose. I understand that a healthy forest doesn’t really have much to fear from the annual marauding of tent caterpillars. We saw a few of these webs on our last trip to Roundrock, but they seemed to be contained and not a spreading threat.

Someone once told me that back on the farm they liked to find these masses because they would then cut the branch and toss it into the chickenyard. The chickens made short work of the caterpillars and got a nutritious meal as well.

I don’t have chickens to feed, so I didn’t give that method a try. I do wonder what a lake full of fish might do with something like this.

While I don’t think I have anything to worry about from tent caterpillars, have a look at this photo essay about a town overrun with them. Scroll down; some of the pix are disturbing. (Thanx to Biomes for the link.)

I deliberately made my photo above by shooting into the sky. I had a hunch that the web would act as a sufficient light filter and allow me to avoid that bleaching effect I usually get when I have any bit of sky in my photos.

Missouri calendar:

  • Cave-dwelling bats begin mathing through October.

13 Responses to “Light filter”

  1. Wayne Says:

    Nice one!

    I agree about the tent caterpillars. I know my parents and friends who live in suburbs or a city get upset about them because, in some cases, the tents appear in one of the very few trees they have.

    I’m not wild about them, but they do appear in our persimmons and cherry trees. Unsightly, and unwelcome, but I basically don’t worry about them. This year I haven’t seen the first one.

  2. oldwhitelady Says:

    For God’s sake, man, cut a limb off and feed the fish! It can’t be bad! Those tentworms have done such damage that a couple tents full thrown to the fish won’t hurt the ecosystem. I like the idea of feeding the chickens with them, too. I’ve seen white bags on the limbs of trees and I assume whoever put them on the trees are trying to contain and destroy the worms. We always called them webworms. I was looking to see what type moth or butterfly they turn into.

    The adult webworm is a silky white moth with black spots. The female lays large numbers of eggs on the underside of the tree leaves. The larvae is a pale yellow caterpillar with black spots on the back covered with fine white hair. As the larvae grow, they extend their webbing over the terminal area of branches. If not controlled, they will feed for 4-6 weeks. After reaching maturity, the larvae will crawl down the tree and construct cocoons, in which they pupate. They over winter in the pupal stage. Now we know:)

  3. Mark Paris Says:

    I used to see these fairly often in NW Georgia, but I can’t recall seeing any in a long time.

  4. Ed Abbey Says:

    Most people up here generally just take a lit match to them, assuming that conditions on the ground aren’t tender dry. Having raised chickens before, I like the idea of feeding them better. Maybe you should fry some up and try them yourselves.

  5. LauraH Says:

    The pics at that link are disturbing!

    Creepy crawlies before my morning coffee – thanks!

  6. roger Says:

    i tried feeding them to chickens. the chickens would have none of it.

  7. Lynne Says:

    The North Shore of Lake Superior here in Minnesota had a bad “outbreak” of those creepy things a few years back. They were dropping out of the trees everywhere we went. Yuck!

  8. floridacracker Says:

    Interesting link. Photos were kind of fuzzy tho.

    Reminded me of a Dean Koontz novel plot …

    If tent caterpillars are on a prized fruit tree, I tie a rag to a stick, douse it with a little kerosene, light it and gently apply it to the web for about 2 seconds. On the wild trees I let them be.

    My chickens and my pond fish refused them.

  9. kim Says:

    way nice foto, cool technique.

  10. Wayne Says:

    FC – Dean Koontz – what a hack! :-)

    But now that you mention it, tent caterpillars are evocative.

  11. Rurality Says:

    I haven’t tried feeding them to the chickens, but I’ve read that cuckoos eat them.

  12. Dave Says:

    A little late for tent caterpillars, aren’t they? I suspect they’re actually fall webworms, as oldwhitelady suggests. http://www.ento.okstate.edu/ddd/insects/fallwebworms.htm
    The latter do less damage to trees than the former, even when they completely defoliate hillsides — as happened here a few years back — because the trees are pretty much done for the year by the time the fall webworms are at the defoliating stage.

  13. Mark H Says:

    Tent cats are everywhere this year. My white car looks nearly black with the droppings. Wish I had a functioning garage.

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