Have you ever driven down a country road in Virginia and wondered to yourself… “What on heavenly earth made those?!”
Instantly struck with fear at the thought of confronting some insanely gargantuan spider who spins webs with the intent of catching large birds – you swear off hiking forever.
No need for such extremes. Your critter is most likely this guy, a Fall Webworm. Or it could be a Tent Caterpillar. Which one usually depends on the time of year.
Fall Webworms are active late summer into fall. They like to hang on the outside of the tree, towards the end of the branches. These guys are smaller than Tent Caterpillars and generally light in color. They originated in North America and now, they can be found worldwide. You might not think it because of their numerous webs, but they are actually pretty harmless to trees.
Tent Caterpillars are active in the spring. They like to locate their web on the inside of a tree between the branches and strategically place it to target the early morning sun. This, along with the chambered layers in their web helps warm their bodies in the colder weather. These guys can clear a lot of foliage when they are numerous.
When they are ready, they make their way down and head out into the world to prepare for their next stage (to become a moth) and to continue the cycle.