The moths are back!

The forest tents caterpillars have returned–but in a form more unsightly than destructive.
Small tan moths are appearing in increasing numbers these days as more and more emerge from their cocoons, and right on schedule. The moths were first noticeable in large numbers here during the first week of July last year.
The moths, which unlike their earlier form as caterpillars don’t eat anything and only live for about 10 days, are now laying their eggs on some of the same trees they had munched on a few weeks ago.
Each moth lays about three bands of eggs, with between 30-50 eggs in each band.
These egg bands can be found on small branches and twigs, with the thickest branches being no larger than a pencil.
While this year was said to be the peak of a four-year cycle for the forest tent caterpillar, they will be back next year. One thing those bothered by the worms can do now to prepare for next year is pick those egg bands off trees, provided the branches can be reached.
You can either clip off the twigs, or, if you can, just scrape off the eggs.
And what about the damage caused by the caterpillars this year?
“That’s hard to answer. It was similar to last year, maybe less,” said Diane Vella, a forester with the Ministry of Natural Resources here.
She noted the MNR count the number and location of eggs bands every fall and then anticipate how much damage to expect from the worms.
But as to “severity” of the defoliation this year, the MNR may not consider the caterpillars the same threat compared to someone with an apple tree in their yard.