We - judgmental humans -- consider the homes of webworms messy and unsightly.
We – judgmental humans -- consider the homes of webworms messy and unsightly. As with other things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. These small, writhing caterpillars are at least interesting: long and lean and spiky-haired, and intimately observable within their airy silken threads. They should have a better name. ‘Fall webworm’ doesn’t describe the way glistening raindrops suspend in their silk, or the way sunlight bounces off the delicate strands. ‘Fall webworm’ is a name that makes us recoil slightly, as does their highly sociable behavior and their self-contained living arrangement. Along the base of the Blue Wall, webworm moths lay patches of eggs on the bottom side of sourwood and persimmon leaves, leaves which become food for multiple, voracious colonies of webworms, spinning and eating their way up through the tree tips. Come late fall, they wrap themselves in tight gossamer blankets, and come spring, they emerge as beautiful white moths. ‘Gossamar spinner’ has a better ring to it than ‘fall webworm,’ don’t you think?~K