Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americanum)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth.
Updated: 3/2/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The popular and furry Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth picks the perfect tree to start a family where the offspring make a mess of things.
The Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth gets its name based on the behavior of its caterpillars. Together, a cluster of young caterpillars create a "tent" from their silk and use it as a home on the tree or shrub they are feeding off. The yellow and black, meal worm-like caterpillars come and go during the day as they eat, returning at night for protection from the elements and potential predators. The tents are sticky and difficult to remove from branches. Because of feeding activity, dead leaves and fruit get trapped inside, creating unsightly branches.
Adult moths have brown hair all over them. Two thin, but obvious white lines cross their forewings at the center and lower portion. Brown antennae are comb-like and large. The thorax is covered in dense brown hairs. Like most moths, Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moths are attracted to lights at night and are nocturnal. They are commonly seen around roses and fruit trees, like apple, cherry and peach, where they are likely to lay their eggs. Female moths lay black egg sacs on twigs, near a leaf bud so the young caterpillars can eat the new leaves immediately after they hatch. Because the caterpillars feed off of trees that bear fruit that humans eat, they can considered pests.