Q: We are being overrun with worms in our oaks. They are totally defoliating large trees around my house.
A: We’re enduring a big outbreak of common oak moth this year. This small gray/brown moth lays her eggs on oak tree leaves in April.
Usually birds, insect predators and rain keep numbers under control. This year, though, thousands have survived to chew on oak trees in north Georgia. Light winds blow them out of the trees and onto sidewalks and house walls.
Their waste pellets sound like a gentle rain as they drop through the tree leaves. The good news is that these creatures will disappear in a week or two. Healthy trees will grow new leaves and we may not see another outbreak for a decade.
Other caterpillars may be active too, including cankerworms and linden looper.