Eastern Tent Caterpillar Egg Hatch Begins in Kentucky

Caterpillar consumption by pregnant mares can lead to fetal loss, late-term foal loss, or weak foals.

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Eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch was reported March 23 in Scott County.

Lee Townsend, PhD, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist, said the tiny larvae will continue to emerge over the next two weeks from eggs laid last summer on flowering wild cherry, cherry, apple, and related trees.

The eastern tent caterpillar spends the winter as tiny, fully developed insects in distinctive egg masses that encircle twigs of wild cherry and related trees. It is one of the first insects to become active in the spring and is well-adapted to survive Kentucky’s erratic winter and early spring weather.

“This is a hardy insect, so it is unlikely that our winter temperatures caused much mortality,” Townsend said. “Studies have shown that caterpillars in the egg can withstand temperatures down to 31 below zero Fahrenheit

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