The Fall webworm is another of the tent caterpillars that get mislabeled by the general public when they see these hairy creatures crawling everywhere. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar, the Forest Tent Caterpillar and the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar all seem to be the same at a quick glance. Not so.
"The fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea (Drury).
The pale yellow, black-spotted, hairy caterpillars of this species hatch from eggs deposited on leaves by the satiny white moths. The larvae feed gregariously on foliage of many different host species from inside an unsightly web.
The larvae are hairy and tan to brown in color. The 1 inch in length caterpillars feed upon the surfaces of leaves for four to six weeks, then spin cocoons in which they pass the winter.
These cocoons are found under trash on the ground or sometimes under bark. Two to five generations occur each year. Two generations occur on pecan, one in May-June and another in July-August. Nursery trees are usually attacked in September- October.
The larvae are heavily parasitized, but may completely defoliate small trees in a short time.
Removal of the larvae in the web or by pruning is an alternative to control with insecticides." Courtesy of the University of Florida