A Natural Resources and Forestry health monitor says although the tent caterpillars might be gross and a nuisance, they are beneficial to the environment. Dan Rowlinson says the caterpillars are helping some trees lose its first layer of leaves.
“They have an opportunity during the second growing season to produce a second crop of foliage or a new crop of leaves and once they’re defoliated,” he explained. “In a couple of weeks the feeding will be completed we will see another crop of smaller leaves come out on the Aspen or Poplar trees that have been defoliated.”
Rowlinson says the caterpillars also provide food back to the soil and offer a source of food for small animals and birds. The tent caterpillars can be seen on people’s homes, garages and sheds. He adds the best way to remove them is either through soap and water or spraying them with a hose or power washer.
“They’re looking for a place to spin up in their cocoon before they go into the next month stage,” he said. “Plus if you have ornamental shrubs or trees when they lay their egg masses or put bands around the twigs, it’s a good idea to remove those and dispose of them as well.”