Caterpillar season is here

caterpillarsHave you wondered why there are caterpillars littered all over the roads this time of year? We are in the thick of caterpillar season here at Lake Wallenpaupack. The caterpillar pictured is an eastern tent caterpillar, which forms nests that resemble tents. They feed on black cherry and other fruit-bearing trees. The forest tent caterpillar, which looks very similar, is typically seen “stringing down” from the trees. They feed on a wide variety of species including sugar maple, ash, cherry, apple, beech and birch. Be careful not to confuse these with the gypsy moth caterpillar, which hatches last and is the smallest of the three. The gypsy moth was brought to the United States in 1869 in a failed attempt to start a silkworm industry. Escaping soon after, this moth has become a major pest in the Northeast. Many people have allergic reactions to all of these caterpillars so you should not handle them.

2 Comments

  1. Lindsey McKellar said,

    April 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Is this Caterpiller pousinious and also we have two that my little sister and I have held???? Is this okay??
    should we have these as pets or should we let them go???

    • pplcorp said,

      April 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Lindsey,

      While the Eastern tent caterpillar is not poisonous to humans, certain species can cause a rash in some individuals. It’s best to leave wildlife in its natural habitat, where it can get all of things it needs to survive, rather than keep it as pets.


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