Fall Webworms

Fall webworms are commonly seen in the autumn, as the name suggests. The small, web-forming caterpillar attacks over 88 kinds of plants and trees. In North Texas, Oak, hickory, and pecans trees are the most frequently infested, along with some ornamentals.

Webworms in Flower Mound, Texas

The unsightly webs that are formed by the Fall webworms serve several purposes. They protect the worms from predators and present the small caterpillars from being blown away by the wind.

While heavy infestations are rare and usually never fatal to the tree, the Fall webworm can do damage to trees that are already struggling. If your trees have not be watered properly over the last few months, a Fall webworm infestation might be of some concern.

What You Can Do

At Tree Shepherds, we do not generally recommend the use of insecticides for Fall webworm control. If the Fall webworms are actively feeding, the most effective means of control is physically removing the infested part of the tree limb.

Another method of control is breaking apart the protective web and spraying water mixed with a mild dishwasher soap, like Dawn, directly onto the caterpillars.

In more extreme cases of infestation, Tree Shepherds might recommend spraying Bacillus thurengensis (BT), a biological insecticide on the webworms. The application, however, must be performed with caution, as BT will also kill other insects, such as butterfly larvae.

Tree Shepherds’ owner and Master Arborist, Scott Geer, recommends:

“The best approach is to let nature take its course.”

If you suspect a severe infestation of Fall webworm, please call Tree Shepherds. We will work with you to control the pest while preserving other forms of life in your garden.

Krista White

Krista White

Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.