“They’re present every year,” he said. “But every 10 years or so, for some reason, weseem to have a great abundance of them.” “Wherever the larvae crawl, they leave a fine thread of silk behind,” he said. “After afew days, you can easily see silken pathways from the webs to the first good feedingsite.” The caterpillars build their nests in the crotches of trees, he said. They don’t feedinside the nests, but congregate there at night and in rainy weather. During the day,they may strip the leaves from branches within a yard or so of their nests. Is this the year? The caterpillars are unlikely to harm a healthy tree. “The damage is usually onlyaesthetic,” he said. “If the plant’s health is already compromised, their feeding canfurther stress it.” “From what I’ve seen around here,” he said in his Athens, Ga., office, “we don’t havethat kind of exceptional population.” Some tiny homesteaders are attracting attention these days as they pitch their silkentents in trees all over Georgia. Eastern tent caterpillars are active only in spring, Horton said, They emerge at aboutthe same time new leaves appear in cherry, apple and other host trees. The leaf-eating caterpillars don’t seriously harm the trees, he said. When the caterpillars mature after four to six weeks, they scatter, spin cocoons andpupate. They emerge as reddish-brown moths, which deposit hundreds of eggs inmasses that look “like large wads of dark brown bubble gum wrapped around smalltwigs,” he said. “What you’re seeing are most likely eastern tent caterpillars,” said Dan Horton, anentomologist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. Fall webworms have two to four generations each year, depending on the climate andare active from early summer through fall. They spin their webs at the ends of treebranches, feeding in relative safety inside the leaves they enclose. The little wads of eggs will stay through the summer, fall and winter. About ninemonths later, they’ll hatch into tiny larvae that will pitch their tents in the trees again. “For the most part, these are native insects attacking native trees,” he said. “They’veboth been there a long time, and they don’t seem any worse for the wear.” “You’ll find them in most of the wild cherry trees,” Horton said. “They get into apple,peach and plum trees, too. And when populations are high, they’ll feed on beech,birch, oak, willow, poplar and others.” If they’re infesting a specimen tree in your landscape, “they’re easy to control withvirtually any homeowner pesticide,” he said. In places, though, their “tents” seem to be popping up everywhere. Georgia has two groups of web-weaving forest caterpillars, he said: eastern tentcaterpillars and fall webworms. Some differences between the two are obvious from adistance. Horton doesn’t think so, although callers to many county extension offices havereported some unusual numbers. “The problem is spraying the tree,” Horton said. “If you have to spray over your headwith a home sprayer, go well beyond the safety precautions on the label. Wear a hat,long sleeves and safety glasses at the least. You may want to wear gloves, too, and adust mask (or make a mask with a handkerchief).”
Clonmel Cycling Club is promoting a 3-stage event on Sunday, May 29th.While multi-stage events are normally spread over a number of days this 3 Stage Grand Prix will all be crammed into a single day.The stages are made up of a 1.1 kilometre hill climb, a 50 kilometre loop over four laps of a 12.5 kilometre circuit and ending with a short 26k stage with a mountain finish.