Eastern Tent Caterpillars are voracious feeders that do swift damage if they go undetected. Usually found in fruit trees, they tend to build in the crux of intersecting branches. This helps them to remain undetected until mass breakout. During early instar stages these pests feed and return to the nest, add more silk and enlarge the tent. Toward the last phase of their caterpillar stage, or larval instar, they break out and do massive destruction. While partial to fruit tree, the tent caterpillar can also be found nesting in bushes (Laurels, Red Tip Photinia and Roses top the list). Beyond the damage these pests inflict, they also make a mighty mess as gobs of these insects lounge about on your tables and patio furniture.
Remedies: Scan trees and shrubs in early spring to detect visible tents. Decide whether controls are merited and apply insecticides at the earliest stages before the problem increases. Target insecticides to the crotches of branches that way you can use less pesticide than if mass breakout has occurred.