Orange-striped oakworms make yearly appearance

This is a quick field note by PhD student Emily Meineke.

For the last few weeks, orange striped oakworms have been raining on my head as I work in the trees. They also drop a lot of poop (entomologists call it frass) which is one of the major complaints by homeowners.

Large oakworms eat entire leaves except for the mid vein. Photo: EK Meineke

Orange-striped oakworms congregate on branches to feed every year in late summer but usually do not cause enough damage to warrant treatment.

Young orangestriped oakworms are often light in color and darken as they get older. I have found some parasitized individuals, which means natural enemies are doing their part to reduce oakworm outbreaks. Caterpillars also make great food for birds. We have posted previously about orange-striped oak worm biology and management if you want more information.

Young oak worms cause damage called ‘window panning’ in which they eat the surface of leaves and feed between tiny veins. Photo: EK Meineke.

Large caterpillar poops around the base of a tree. Photo: SD Frank

2017-06-29T12:41:18-04:00 August 26th, 2014|Categories: Landscape IPM, Natural History and Scientific Adventures, Nursery IPM, Urban Ecology|Tags: , |

About the Author:

Emily Meineke
Emily earned her PhD in the Frank Lab in 2016. She’s interested in how human pressures (like urbanization) change the insects that live around us. Find her at