|College of Agriculture|
May 9, 2003
Eastern Tent Caterpillar Update
Townsend, Extension Entomologist
Department of Entomology
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Many ETC have finished feeding and are dispersing to spin cocoons in which to pupate. The caterpillars appear to leave trees in several ways; some crawl down the trunk while others simply drop directly to the ground. This behavior will continue over about the next two weeks because of the normally wide range in caterpillar development.
Wandering caterpillars eventually settle under ledges, in crevices, or bind themselves with some loose silk strands to leaves or other objects. Then, they spin dense cocoons and molt to the pupal stage. The adults, or moths, will emerge from the cocoons in 10 to 14 days and mate. Females will lay eggs and die, ending the generation for this year.