Caterpillars Are Eating Well In Wakulla County
Late May has seen the emergence of many caterpillars in Wakulla County. All are chewing on leaves with wild abandon. The following are some of the species making an appearance:
Light populations of Whitemarked Tussock Moth caterpillars have been identified on forested lands. This species favors hardwoods, especially live oaks, water oaks, red oaks, and white oaks.
Eastern Tent Caterpillars are active in wild plum and black cherry trees. These caterpillars can be problematic for fruit tree production, but are usually more of an aesthetic problem.
Giant Leopard Moth caterpillars are currently chewing on dog fennel. They have a lot of eating to do to control this weed.
Catawba Worms have defoliated many of the local Catawba trees. Depending on the weather, three or four generations will appear during the summer. Fishermen are waiting because of the caterpillar’s value as freshwater bait.
Armyworm appeared in Wakulla County gardens during late winter, but disappeared when the weather turned cold again this spring. The warmer weather likely portends their return, and they are not so selective about what they eat.
Visit the UF Entomology Departments Featured Creatures website for help identifying common insects.