A Gig Harbor Patch reader sent us an email earlier this week regarding these ugly webs near her home. She feared tent caterpillars were invading her neighborhood.
"I found these in apple trees behind a vehicle mechanic building between Purdy Drive and Sherman Drive near the Flotation Device Pub, East side of Burley Lagoon."
The reader wanted to know who she should contact to report the problem.
It turns out, there's not much you can do.
According to Diagnostic Plant Pathologist Jenny Glass at the Washington State University Puyallup Plant & Insect Diagnostic Laboratory, these insects are fall webworms--not tent caterpillars.
These hairy worms create nests similar to tent caterpillars and are also considered non-invasive.
But unlike the tent caterpillars, which appear in the spring, fall webworms turn up in late summer and early fall.
"They're not very bad at all," Glass said. "They'll eat some plants but hardly cause any damage."
They feed on alder, cottonwood, walnut and apple trees, according to the WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center website.
Good news: These caterpillars will disappear once temperatures go down, Glass said.
In the meantime, there aren't any pesticides for these suckers, and it's best to let it run its course.
"If it's a nest that you can easily get out of a tree, go for it. But otherwise, there's no need to worry," she said.
"The trees usually recover pretty quickly from the damage. It's more of the annoyance of having webworms," Glass added.