Caterpillars belong to the insect order Lepidoptera. Caterpillars are the larval stage of moths and are among the most serious defoliators of trees. One example is the eastern tent caterpillar Malacosoma americanum, responsible for defoliating forest trees, as well as cherry, apple and other ornamental shade trees. Other Lepidoptera pests include the gypsy moth, winter moth, spring and fall cankerworm, bagworm, clear wing borers, pine tip moth and tussock moth. Some moth larvae, such as tip moths and clear wing borers, feed inside the twigs, shoots or trunk of the tree and are virtually unseen.
For leaf-chewing caterpillars, the obvious symptom is skeletonized or mostly consumed leaves. The caterpillar itself can often be visibly observed feeding on the leaf tissue. For moth larvae which bore into the shoot, twig or trunk, symptoms will include brown stunted tips, branch dieback and exit holes in the trunk.
Info Source: Arborjet
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