It is Tent Caterpillar hunting season again.  Every year, for the last 25 years, I have combed our apple orchards in the Spring to remove tent caterpillars.  I scrape them out of the trees with a wire brush mounted on a long pole.  And every year they are back again.

The Eastern Tent Caterpillar makes its tents in the forked branches of tree limbs.  These spiderweb-like tents are spun for protection from predators.

Tent caterpillars eat young leaves and they feed several times each day.  The caterpillars move from the tent in search of food and lay down a scent trail as they pass over the branches. These chemical trails allow caterpillars to find their way back to the tent.

They can eat every leaf off of a tree if they’re not removed.  Fortunately, I’m not alone in hunting tent caterpillars.  Robins, Blue jays, Redwing Blackbirds, and Cardinals, all eat them.