Do you know what is causing these tree webs? Find out here


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – That doesn’t look like Charlottes web or that corner bedroom spider haven. These tree webs are actually referred to as tents. This is one third of the answer of what is constructing those intricate webs. But don’t expect some massive tarantula to come toppling out of this white-wicker-web.

Instead: “this is the eastern tent caterpillar…you know it because it has this white strip with blue dots running across its back,” said Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman.

“In the fall when the leaves start to come out, the caterpillars hatch from these egg masses and they will congregate and form these little tents,” explained Coppinger.

So why now and why so many?

“Often the eastern tent caterpillar will see outbreaks on a cyclical pattern every decade or so,” explained Coppinger.

And the caterpillars have a sweet tooth. They tend to forage on wild black cherry trees which have left the trees looking exposed and the tents larger.

“As they forage the tents get bigger and bigger,” said Coppinger

But biologists say it’s nothing to worry about.

“They are just unsightly but they don’t do any permanent damage to the tree and the tree will re-foliate in June or July with fresh new leaves,” said Coppinger.

Oh, and… They don’t pose a threat you, either.

Biologists say they do get confused with other common caterpillars such as forest tent caterpillars and even silkworm caterpillars. But the ones around the Wabash Valley are simple Eastern Tent Caterpillars. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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