Eastern Tent Caterpillar Eggs Could Hatch Early in Kentucky

Entomologists predict that this year’s egg hatch could beat the previous record for early hatching “soundly.”

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Eastern Tent Caterpillar Eggs Could Hatch Early in Kentucky
An Eastern tent caterpillar egg mass. | Photo Credit: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture
Eastern tent caterpillars will likely begin to hatch soon, said Lee Townsend, PhD, University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist.

“Eastern tent caterpillars are among the first insects to appear in the spring,” he said. “Consequently, they can cope with the erratic temperature swings that are common in Kentucky. This year’s unseasonable warmth points to abnormally early activity.”

Eggs from a mass Townsend collected on Feb. 17 hatched after a weekend indoors.

“Although the temperature was artificially high (in the lab), clearly (outside) conditions are close to prompting eastern tent caterpillar hatch,” he said. “In addition, black cherry leaf buds are starting to open. High and low temperatures from Feb. 17-24 are about 20 degrees above seasonal normal. Egg hatch this year may beat the previous record soundly

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