It is hard to know which is the head and which is the tail of this caterpillar. I spotted it after it had already eaten the leaves off a few branches of this shrub. I found out which end was the tail …….squish….yuck! It would have been a lovely butterfly actually a Moth!
Tent caterpillar is the common name for the larvae of the members of a family of moths (Lasiocampidae), easily recognized by the large silk tents, or webs, that the larvae construct during the spring in the crotches of trees, particularly apple and cherry trees. Tent caterpillars are hairy and usually brightly colored, with blue and yellow spots. Periodically they become serious orchard pests and occur in large enough numbers to defoliate whole trees and damage the fruit. Many larvae live gregariously within the tent, which they use for shelter during the night and in rainy weather. During the day, the larvae leave the tent and feed on the leaves in nearby branches.
Tent caterpillars have ravaged large amounts of trees in Southern Ontario. They have become a serious threat. You can see their tents everywhere and many treess stripped of their leaves. When a tent is full they burst open and drop hundreds of these caterpillars. I do not want to be standing below when this happens! There has not been much success by the Ministry in ridding the Province of these destructive creatures. They are devouring more forests every year.