Small worm coming out of the ceiling

Question: We have a small worm coming out of the ceiling. What is this thing? They have built webs all around the upper trunk of the tree. We had them before, but they were lower in the tree, therefore, we could spray. One of the branches of the tree was beginning to die until we sprayed. What would you recommend?

Answer: Maybe what you have in the tree is the fall webworm. The large white moths of the fall webworm lay their eggs in July and the eggs hatch in about ten days. The caterpillars spin large webs within which they feed. The full-grown caterpillars are about 1 inch long, pale brown, and clothed in white hairs. Once they complete their feeding they leave the webs and from cocoons on the tree trunk, limbs or any secluded place. They pass the winter as a pupa and emerge in late spring or summer.

There is little you can do to control them once the webs have been formed. Liquid insecticide may not penetrate the webbing very well. You can try to remove some of the webs in the afternoon or evening and then spray the leaves that are enclosed. This will leave a residue on the leaves and kill some of the caterpillars on contact. Inspect and remove as many of the cocoons as possible to reduce the population for next year.

Check the trees early next year (mark your calendar) so that you can spray the webs when they are just formed. If you decide to spray the trees you can seek help from an Arborist or contact you local Department of Agriculture Extension Service for some recommendations. If deciding to do it yourself, read, understand, and follow the label for any product you decide to use.

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