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tent caterpillars

I have two mullberry trees that were here when I moved to Florida two years ago. Fruiting seems to be ending. I've noticed webs with caterpillars. I've not examined them so can't describe them. I'm just learning to live and let live as I haven't learned good bug, bad bug yet. Should I just leave them alone to enjoy the leaves or search out an organic caterpillar killer? Thank You, Nana MacD

Backyard Expert - Cathy Nordstrum

Dear Nana,

More often than not insect damage to a tree in spring is minimal in the larger scheme of things. However, there are those times when you have a situation that seems to be getting out of control. Any time you have caterpillars that form webs, called tents, take a long stick and open them up. Birds and wasps will quickly move in and eat the critters. It's a much easier (well, sometimes it's not so easy) and less expensive way to handle the problem than spraying. And of course spraying puts the sprayer and garden visitors at risk of chemical exposure, and you don't want to do that. So continue to live and let live by using your noodle and just continue to be aware of what goes on in your landscape. And remember to use native trees in your garden for plants that most often will not have pest and disease problems. You are my hero for not reaching for the spray!

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