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Big Webworm Season Affects Katy Residents

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

June 11, 2024

By Natalie Cook Clark

 

 A tiny critter has taken over Katy and residents are flooding social media with pictures and questions. They are webworms and we spoke to residents and pest control experts.


Photo credit: Lisa Marie

 

“I am a self-proclaimed plant watch dog,” says Katy resident Dave DeFelice. “I’ve never seen these things before.”



Katy Pest Expert Explains

“We saw these a few years ago and now they are back in a big way,” says Larry Reifschneider is a Katy resident and a consultant with Barefoot Mosquito and Pest Control.


Photo credit: Larry Reifschneider

Webworms are known for the silk-like webbing that they create over trees and shrubs. They start spinning right after they hatch and create webs for protection as they eat foliage in anticipation of their next cycle, a cocoon before becoming a moth. How much harm they can inflict on a garden is debated but move fast and are capable of damaging plants quickly, and this fact has many residents concerned.

 

So why are we seeing so many? Environmental factors play a major part as to why Katy residents are seeing these things everywhere. We had a mild winter followed by a warm spring and a lot of moisture. Reifschneider explains that the conditions that normally would have killed off a lot of the eggs didn’t happen, so we now have a huge batch that just came out.

 

And don’t think they are going away soon, because they can see up to four life cycles in a season. Once they become moths, we will see a lot of harmless white moths with brown and black spots flying around.

 

What To Do

If they are in your yard and causing damage, you have options.

 

“You can spray but you need something powerful to reach up around the trees, and any spray must be applied well in order to reach past their hairs and to kill the webworms,” explains Reifschneider.

 

According to Reifschneider, residents can take some preventative measures in the fall, such as spraying horticulture oil in your trees. Due to the nature of how any spray must be applied, it is recommended to contact a pest control company for best results.

 

Dave DeFelice moved to Katy in 2001 and has never seen anything like this. As a retiree, he spends a lot of time working in his garden. When he started losing plants to webworms he decided to take action.

 

“I tried grapes, and I’ve lost them all to these webworms,” says DeFelice.

 


After much research and studying up on websworms, DeFelice is using a mixture of water and Montery B.T.

 

“The webworms can take over a plant very quickly,” says DeFelice. “If you are going out of town you should have someone check you plants every few days to avoid coming home to a real mess.”

 

Many Katy moms don’t want them around their kids who want to play outside. While these are nothing like the dangerous asps that can be found seasonally in Katy, they should still not be touched.

 

“Some people can have a reaction to their hairs even though they aren’t considered as a pest that stings,” explains Reifschneider.

 

Katy mom Lisa Marie in Canyon plans to open up the web so that predators can get to the worms and let nature take its course. “I’m also going to try trimming off those areas and moving the branches away from my gardens and patio to pupate in a cocoon away from where my kids play,” says Marie.

 

Katy is home to many critters. Lately a much larger critter has been visiting a Katy family. Learn about bobcats and other critters that residents should be aware of here.




1 Comment


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Carol Lawrence
Jun 13

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