Walnut caterpillar having strong summer

Walnut caterpillars invading East Texas trees
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 8:03 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2023 at 11:36 PM CDT
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LUFKN, Texas (KTRE) - Summer in the Piney Woods brings heat and dry weather that can be dangerous to east texas trees but a smaller threat has emerged this summer, and it may be just as dangerous for the trees that make the piney woods home.

Walnut caterpillars are a pest that have been bad this summer. They are native to the Eastern United States, and their larvae love devouring leaves. Ag and Natural Resource agent Jamie Sugg showed us how these little bugs can be a problem. .

“Basically what these walnut caterpillars will do is, they’ll lay an egg mass on the bottom side of the leaf and as those eggs hatch, those larvae will start feeding on those leaves, and over the span of five or six weeks, the can skeletonize a pecan tree.”

Sugg tells us that complaints to his county are high this summer, suggesting that it’s a big year. But there are things that can be done to fight them.

“I’m getting around two or three calls a day on these caterpillars. They are around every year but for whatever reason this summer, we have had a bumper crop of them, and they have been absolutely horrible.”

“If a homeowner sees an egg mass on the bottom side of some trees, I would knock those eggs off, pull the leaf off, throw it in the trash, before they have a chance to hatch,” he advised.