Wandering caterpillars can be a nuisance

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

I never thought I would be writing about eastern tent caterpillars and forest tent caterpillars in the turf section, but if you look at the attached picture on a golf course green from near Traverse City, you can see why. Thousands of eastern tent and forest tent caterpillars have defoliated trees surrounding fairways and have started to wander – right across fairways, tees and greens. Golf course superintendents have tried spraying Scimitar, Talstar and Sevin with limited success. The caterpillars are dying, but they are dying on the greens, which doesn’t really help. The best strategy for the next week or so before the caterpillars pupate seems to be to spray the tees, greens, surrounding collars, and surrounding rough between the trees and the fairways with one of the above insecticides every other day, so the caterpillars will die before reaching the greens and tees.

Wandeing eastern tent caterpillar
Wandering eastern tent caterpillar.

Wandering forest tent caterpillar
Wandering forest tent caterpillar.

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