As they eat down to
the cob they leave masses of repulsive moist castings. As tomato fruit-
worms, larvae feed on foliage and fruit, moving restlessly from one fruit
to the next and over onto bean and other vegetables. As budworms
the caterpillars may attack rose, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, calendula,
dahlia, and other flowers.
Control. Dust corn silks with 5% DDT every 3 days for 3 or 4 applications, or inject 1/4 teaspoon mineral oil into base of the silk mass as soon
as it looks wilted. Spray or dust buds of ornamentals with DDT, toxaphene, or chlordane. Dust tomatoes in early fruit stages with DDT or
EASTERN TENT CATERPILLAR (Malacosoma americanum).
This species is
present east of the Rocky Mountains, and there are related forms
in the West. Conspicuous, ugly nests appear in wild cherries along the
roadsides and in fruit trees-apple, peach, and plum-in hawthorns and
other ornamentals. Eggs are laid in a brown, varnished collar around
twigs (Figure 22A). The young caterpillars hatch in very early spring-
often late March-and gather in a colony at a fork of nearby limbs to
construct their webbed nest, from which they go forth to feed on foliage.
Wild cherries are stripped bare, unsprayed fruit trees badly ravaged.
The caterpillars are up to 2 inches long, black with a white stripe down
the back, bordered with reddish brown, a row of oval blue spots, and
covered with long, tan hairs. Toward the end of their feeding season
the larvae often swarm down houses and feast on roses and other shrubs
before making white cocoons on tree trunks, garages, or other objects.
The moths are light reddish brown with 2 diagonal stripes across each
forewing. They lay their egg masses around twigs in early summer, and
these remain until spring, there being but one generation a year.
Control. So far as possible cut off twigs bearing the egg collars in fall
or winter. Wipe out nests while caterpillars are still young, wrapping
the mess in newspaper for burning in the incinerator. Do not burn nests
in the tree with a flaming torch. This is most injurious to the tree and
all too often brings out the fire department. Dusting the nest with sulfur
or spraying with any contact insecticide will kill young larvae. Fruit
trees are protected by any spraying program including lead arsenate or