Cankerworms hatching!

Tiny nibbles on a willow oak leaf. Photo: SD Frank.

Spring and fall cankerworms are hatching as we speak. I saw the first ones today on campus. Despite their names both species become active as soon as buds break. Small green and brown caterpillars dangle from silk below trees and hitchhike on passersby. Not a major threat to trees but this year are so abundant silk strands are blocking sidewalks on campus! Caterpillars are a major food source for over 90% of songbirds so urban trees that support caterpillars boost urban songbird abundance and survival. It is also fun to watch people try to navigate around (or get tangled up in) hanging caterpillars. Enjoy the show.

You can find out more on our cankerworm project page.

2017-06-30T14:28:10+00:00 March 23rd, 2012|Categories: Urban Ecology|Tags: , |

About the Author:

Steve Frank
I am broadly interested in the ecology and management of arthropod pests. Herbivorous arthropods cause extraordinary damage to plants in agricultural, urban, and natural ecosystems. Understanding interactions between pests and their environment, plant hosts, and natural enemies can improve management practices and reduce pesticide applications.