Michigan has survived another year of tent caterpillar invasion. The native tent caterpillar wreaked havoc on trees as they fed along this spring, Thankfully, the tent caterpillar does have natural predators. More importantly, once these voracious munchers stop eating they morph into moths and expire shortly after mating. The caterpillars can cause major damage some years but luckily most years, the widespread damage has not been permanent. So Michigan, heres to you for surviving another year of the tent caterpillar!
“The forest tent caterpillar made life miserable for homeowners and woodlot owners across much of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula this spring as it fed on oak, aspen and sugar maple trees. The good news is that caterpillar feeding has come to an end for this season.”
“Widespread outbreaks occur in Michigan every 10 to 15 years. Past outbreaks peaked in 1922, 1937, 1952, 1967, 1978, 1990, 2002 and 2010. While caterpillar activity statewide can remain high for up to five years, outbreaks in any one locale normally last for two or three years. Outbreaks decline suddenly once parasites and other natural enemies become active.”
“Once caterpillar feeding stops, mass flights of forest tent caterpillar moths can occur in late June and early July. Adult moths do not feed. They will mate and die over the course of a few weeks.”
“The forest tent caterpillar is native to Michigan, where it has evolved with the state’s forests over the centuries. Fortunately, natural controls also have evolved, helping to prevent widespread damage following outbreaks.”