Forest Pests

Differentiating between Forest pests is an important part of being an educated forest land owner and manager. Below are examples of the common Forest pests you may find in Otsego County.

Forest Tent Caterpillar


Pest: Malacosoma disstria Hubner

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Lasiocampidae

Hosts: Oak, Maple, Poplars , Birch , Ash, Elm

Damage and Management:  This pest can cause tree defoliation across entire tree canopies and if persisting more than three years may cause tree or stand mortality. Because there is no visible web or nest formations to treat there are no mechanical means to treat the problem. Chemical insecticides are used to treat this pest when the infestation is widespread.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Robert Rabaglia, Maryland Department of Agriculture    Daniel Twardus, USDA Forest Service

Robert Rabaglia, Maryland Department of Agriculture

Daniel Twardus, USDA Forest Service

Pest: Malacosoma americanum

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Lasiocapidae

Hosts: Apple, Crab Apple, Ornamental Cherry, and other trees of the Malus and Prunus varieties.  

Damage and Management: These pests cause minor defoliation within the confines and close proximity to their nest. Although these infestations seldom cause tree mortality, they can weaken a tree and create susceptibility to other forest pests and diseases.  The best Management for this pest is manual pruning of egg masses prior to the hatch and removal of newly developing nests when the larvae are in the nests. 

Fall Webworm

Photo:  Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,      

Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, 

Pest: Hyphantria cunea

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Arctiidae

Hosts: Birch, Lilac, Crabapple, cherry and various other fruit bearing and hardwood trees.

Damage and Management:  In most cases management is not necessary. This pest typically does not cause tree mortality and after a few years the defoliation caused by the Fall Webworm will no longer be visible or a health threat to the tree. The Fall Webworm is also an anticipated part of the food chain for many predators such as birds, insects, and parasites that serve as biological control for this pest.