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Forest tent caterpillar

Malacosoma disstria Hübner
Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae

Adults are reddish brown with two brown, transverse-parallel bands (A). Masses of shiny black eggs are laid in a ring around twigs. Larvae have long silky hairs on their body and a row of elongated spots along the back (B).


Most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.


Attacks apple, peach, and plum. Defoliation of infested branches occurs within a few days.

Similar Species

The eastern tent caterpillar [Malacosoma americanum (Fabr.)] adult has white bands rather than brown. The larva has a yellow line on the back. Only the eastern tent caterpillars build silken tents between the branches of infested trees.


Physical control of the colonies by removal of larvae from trees; remove egg masses when detected while pruning. Localized intervention on the most severely infested trees. Economic infestations can be controlled by the use of selective (e.g., Bacillus thuringiensis) or broad-spectrum insecticides.

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