The fall webworms have arrived in Arkansas City.

Web worms

Courtesy photo

They appear in late summer and early autumn. In some cases, they do substantial damage to the trees they infest.

The caterpillars that cause these unsightly webs in trees are about an inch long, with pale yellow coloring.

The webs are where the caterpillars spend their larval state as they feed on the foliage of the trees.

Eventually, the nests break apart and drop the pests to the ground, where the pupae spend the winter months.

Adults emerge in late spring to lay hundreds of eggs on the underside of leaves, and the cycle begins again.

Removing the webs quickly will restore the aesthetics of the landscape and reduce future outbreaks.

Removal of the webs is easy — using a rake or long pole, homeowners can pull down the webs and destroy the webworms by hand.

The pests also can be eliminated by tearing a hole in the web sack and providing natural predators such as yellow jackets, paper wasps, and birds access to the caterpillars.

“It depends upon how bad (the trees) are infested,” Parks and Facilities Director Tony Tapia said of how the City of Arkansas City deals with webworms.

If entire limbs are infested, the city cuts the affected areas out of the tree and burns the cuttings.

When doing this inside the city limits, residents should take the trimmings to the F Street Limb Disposal and Compost Site.

If the infestation is minor, Tapia said the city sprays the area with pesticides. As the caterpillars move in the nest, they come into contact with the insecticide.