king maple and caterpillars


why am I seeing a number of caterpillars hanging down from my king maple? The tree is 52 yrs old. Is there a potential issue for the tree and what can I do about it in a safe way? The caterpillars are dropping on us as we sit below. Sorry, I don’t have a picture.

Mrs. Vimla Dayal


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.

It is difficult, without a full description of the caterpillars in question, to make a positive identification of the problem. However, the most likely culprit is the tent caterpillar which refers to the larvae of several moth and butterfly species. They multiply rapidly and can unfortunately defoliate trees such as maples in a short space of time. They produce webs or tents that are used to protect the caterpillars. However, although they cause damage, the life of the tree is rarely affected.

This topic has previously been researched by Toronto Master Gardeners and excellent information can be found at the following link.

Best of luck!