What Are Those Webs In My Trees?

March 07, 2023

Here at Pine State Pest Solutions has been receiving requests all winter from property owners looking for help getting rid of browntail moth winter webs on their properties. If you’ve noticed webs in your trees and aren’t sure what they are or if you know exactly what pest is currently occupying them and simply want them gone, our locally owned and operated Maine pest control company can help!

tree infested with browntail moth nests in maine

What are those webs in my trees?

Browntail moth winter webs are created by the larvae of the browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) as a protective structure for overwintering. The larvae spin the web in the fall before winter arrives, typically in September or October, and remain inside the web until spring.

The browntail moth larvae construct the web by producing a fine, silken thread, which they weave together into a dense, cocoon-like structure. The web serves as a shelter for the larvae, protecting them from harsh winter weather and predators.

Browntail moth larvae will damage trees 

The larvae of the browntail moth can cause significant damage to Maine trees, defoliating them and weakening their health. They particularly love to attack oak, apple, shadbush, and cherry trees. 

Avoiding contact with BTMs is best 

Browntail moth larvae are known for their distinctive hairs, which can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems in humans and animals. It's important to avoid contact with browntail moth winter webs and caterpillars that might show up on your deck or elsewhere on your property. 

Are browntail moth winter webs a serious issue in Maine?

Yes, browntail moth winter webs are a serious issue in Maine, particularly along the coastal regions of the state although they are being reported in quite a few inland communities. 

The Maine Forest Service and other organizations in the state work to monitor and manage populations of the browntail moth, including through the removal of winter webs and targeted pesticide treatments. However, managing browntail moth populations is an ongoing challenge in Maine.

How do you identify a browntail moth winter web in a tree?

Identifying a browntail moth winter web in a tree typically involves looking for a distinctive silken web-like structure at the ends of branches. Here are the steps to identify a browntail moth winter web:

  • The winter web of browntail moth larvae is typically a dense, white, silken web-like structure that is about the size of a golf ball or larger.
  • It is usually found on the tips of branches, where the larvae have spent the winter.
  • Look for reddish-brown hairs on the web
  • Depending on how high up in the tree the web is, reddish-brown hairs may be visible from the nest.  
  • Look for signs of defoliation
  • If the tree has been defoliated in the previous year, it may be a sign that there are browntail moth larvae in the area.

It's important to note that if you are unsure about the identification of a browntail moth winter web or if you suspect that there are browntail moth larvae in your area, it's best to contact a local arborist or pest management professional for advice on how to manage the situation.

Pine State Pest Solutions is currently scheduling browntail moth treatments for 2023

If you have a home, camp, or other property that you’d like our local pest control company to inspect for browntail moth winter webs, reach out today. We are currently scheduling assessments and will begin treating for BTMS in the coming weeks. 


Tags: browntail moth control  |  browntail moth caterpillar winter webs

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