A number of different moth larvae
construct silken tents as they feed on the leaves
of their host plants. The tents are often large,
distinctive and attract attention because they can
resemble huge spider webs (see photo right).
Larvae may be found crawling on the outside or
inside of tents depending on species and stage of
development. Tents are frequently covered with
frass (caterpillar feces) and plant debris. Adult
moths are fairly large with greater than 1"
wingspan but otherwise usually drab.
While occasional outbreaks of these
insects cause serious damage to forest trees, for
ornamental trees and shrubs the damage is usually
more unsightly than damaging. It has been shown
experimentally that healthy trees and shrubs can
sustain considerable foliage loss without
common names: forest tent caterpillar,
western tent caterpillar, eastern tent
caterpillar, fall webworm