Pest Photo

Gerald J. Lenhard, Louisiana State University,

Forest tent caterpillar

Malacosoma disstria

Forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) is an insect pest. It is a native of North America and was first detected in Maryland in 1984.

These tent caterpillars do not make tents, rather they weave a silky sheet where they lie together during molting. The caterpillar are social and travel and feed en masse. The caterpillars live in deciduous trees, which they strip of leaves after emerging from their eggs. The moths favor oak, sweetgum and tupelo, aspen trees, and sugar maple for oviposition but the larvae can be found feeding on many other species of woody trees or shrubs when they disperse.

For more information about this plant pest, see the CABI data sheet.