Local News

Webworms Spin Nests Around Triangle Area

Posted September 3, 2003

— Their unsightly webs are hard to miss. Webworms are spinning nests in tree branches all over the Triangle.

Johnny Barbee's pecan orchard is wrapped up with the webworms.

"They definitely need to be under control, don't they. We've got quite a few out here," he said.

The pecan trees have been on Barbee's Johnston County farm since the early 1960s, and this year's invasion has him worried.

"You don't want it to kill your trees or hurt your pecan harvest," he said.

Barbee called the Agricultural Extension office, which sent out Cathy Kloetzli to check things out.

"We've probably gotten about a dozen calls in the last week," she said.

Experts say the webworms live and dine on a lot of different things.

"Actually, they attack about 600 different kinds of plants and shrubs, so it's very likely that you will see them somewhere in your yard at some point," Kloetzli said. "If not this year, then in a following year. They're very common.

"The basic message is to just to let Mother Nature run her course, not to be too concerned about it," Kloetzli said.

In a couple of weeks, the webworms will drop or crawl to the ground and dig in for the winter leaving their nest to fall apart. Experts said you can apply sprays or use any product that contain BT in it. Another trick in getting rid of the webworms is to poke holes in the nests, so birds will be able to get in and eat them.

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