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what is this pest in my apple tree?

 
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I just saw this yesterday. I think they are caterpillars? There are 3 web/cocoon? shaped areas on one shoot of my apple tree with hundreds of these insects per web. My apples always have holes and issues? Are these the culprit? Can I cut off this one shoot and get rid of them instead of spraying--my apple tree is already flowering.

I'd hate to have all holey destroyed apples again this year.

Thanks for any input
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insects in my apple tree
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insects in my apple tree
 
Posts: 7052
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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They look like tent caterpillars to me. I always just take a long stick and remove the web along with the caterpillars. You could try feeding them to chickens....I think they die once removed from the tree but I sometimes squish just to be sure. They will eat the foliage but are probably not what is causing spots on your apples. They will strip a small tree of foliage if left on their own though. Some years here they are worse than others and some trees, like our persimmons, are too tall to remove the web...they are large enough trees they seem to survive the loss of some leaves OK.
 
Risa Sibbitt
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thanks. will consider feeding to chickens. read they might be poisonous. doing more research. damn caterpillars!
 
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Location: Porter, Indiana
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Those look like tent caterpillars to me. If you want, you can cut off the branches that have caterpillars. Alternatively, there is a natural bacterial spore called bacillus thuringiensis you can apply that kills the caterpillar when ingested. In stores, these spores are often sold as "Thuricide" or "Bt Worm Killer"
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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read they might be poisonous.



I didn't know that and I don't have chickens........so maybe squishing or a bucket of water would be the best way. I think once you get that batch out of your tree there shouldn't be any more. I have found what I think were egg cases for them when I inspect my fruit tree bark over the winter. I scrape them away just in case.
 
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Location: Central Indiana
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grandpa used to burn them out...depending on the tree you can burn it out and not cause a lot of lasting damage. Also makes sure they're dead.  Not advocating the method just saying that's how we used to do it.  
 
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