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Caterpillar to blame for ugly webs in trees

August 19, 2012

Photo by Gian DeLoia – The fall webworm constructs its nest over a shade tree outside the Elk County Courthouse.

Many Ridgway residents have been taking notice and voicing their concerns over unsightly, light gray, silken webs in many of the trees within the borough.
The fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea [Drury], got off to an early start building its impressive silk tents on the ends of limbs and sometimes enclosing entire branches.
Ridgway Borough Manager Martin Schuller says despite the recent surge residents need not be concerned for the health of the trees.
"I have had a number of people asking me about the webs," Schuller said. "They are actually not hurting the trees. It's that time of year for them to do their duty and in the fall the webs will drop. There are a lot of them around the whole county."
According to an article published by the Pennsylvania State University, Cooperative Extension, College of Agricultural Sciences, the fall webworm appears from late summer through early fall and feeds on about 90 species of deciduous trees, commonly feeding on hickory, walnut, birch, cherry and crabapple.

Pick up a copy of the Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.

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