Caterpillars by the Yard

The sun backlighting this fall webworm tent made it impossible to miss.

They usually start their nest near the end of a branch so it includes all the leaves there. As they eat the leaves, they continue to enlarge it to include more leaves. Obviously, from its yard-long length, it’s been here a while.

The evening light made the caterpillars easier to see.

This wasp or hornet (I don’t know much about either) pulled a caterpillar out and proceeded to eat it. It didn’t mind my presence,

 More details were obvious on the caterpillars the next morning. Obviously, the caterpillars don’t usually leave the nest, by all the droppings in the tent. They will come out if the weather’s hot and the nest gets too hot inside.

This pictures shows where the caterpillars shed their skin when molting. Obviously, this is done in the nest too. These last pictures were taken the third morning after finding the web.

This wasp/hornet spent a lot of time trying to get its head through the web to get a caterpillar.

Only about 20 caterpillars remained in the web on the fourth morning. The web was enlarged considerably over these 3 days. Since they only feed inside the tent, they included the closest leaves. I really don’t see how they could make such tightly-woven walls. Woven isn’t exactly the right word.

The tent/web ended up being over a yard long. I was impressed with its construction.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on August 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

    So very interesting! The first picture looked as if it had illuminated strands inside. Pretty cool!

    Reply

  2. What a fantastic yard you have, with all sorts of interesting guests! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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