Is It Raining Pooh?
Yes, if you have Oak trees close to your home, you probably have noticed the small pelleted debris falling. It may sound like rain, as the small pellets hit the leaves below, on the way down.
The culprit causing the messiness is the Variable OakLeaf Caterpillar. Variable because the color can vary, but usually is some shade of green, with a narrow white stripe down the center of its back. The adult moth is an ashy gray color.
Natural predators usually keep the populations of caterpillars in check, but in some years they can become a messy nuisance. White oaks are the preferred target of the Oakleaf Caterpillar but this year I have noticed more on red oaks.
There is no need for alarm, the resultant defoliation will not hurt the trees. They are already going into dormancy and have enough reserves stored up to spring back next year.
There is no need to use insecticides as the caterpillars will be gone soon and they are an important food source for birds and other predators.
Media Contact: Saline County Agent
Ron Matlock, County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1605 Edison Ave., #15, Benton, AR 72015
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