WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Weather Forecast & Radar

Tent Caterpillar population in an upswing

These nests are more than just eyesores. They can cause major problems for horse owners in the Bluegrass and across Kentucky.

MGN Online

These nests are more than just eyesores. They can cause major problems for horse owners in the Bluegrass and across Kentucky. The nest they house is for the tent caterpillar and that can be devastating

You see them built in trees nearly everywhere you look. The nest of the tent caterpillar. You start seeing these pop up during the late spring and early summer.

"Tent Caterpillar have finished their feeding in cherry trees and related trees. They are leaving their nests behind. Particularly if they are around pastured horses, that's where you can run into problems if the pregnant mares eat enough of these caterpillars, essentially will cause the problem and lead to foal loss," Lee Townsend University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist said.

The last time there was such an upswing back in 2002 the impacts were felt in and around the horse industry.

"This is just a natural part of the life cycle that caused the problems 12 years ago with MRLS."

Controlling the problem can be a little more difficult, but it is not impossible.

"It's difficult to control them once they've left the tree. They're not very susceptible to insecticides and they're spread all over the place and can wander 200 to 300 feet away from where they develop. What you want is a safety zone away from trees that were infested," Townsend said.

If you take the advice that Townsend shared you should be in the clear so watch for the nests because the caterpillars will be close.


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