The eastern tent caterpillar is a creature that is hard to miss and fascinating to watch. The silky nests make for positive identification and the tent caterpillars tree campsites are popping up all over Oakland County in these waning days of May. Most of the nests are secured in the crotches of black cherry tree limbs, with the tender young leaves being the favorite food source. The caterpillars crawl about all day munching on the leaves and return to the shelter of the nest after a last meal shortly after darkness. Some say the caterpillars are late this year. Not so! Their emergence is timed to the food source and the great feeding frenzy began with the recent warm days and rains finally accelerated leaf growth. Although branches are often defoliated the tree does just fine and careful observation confirms the tents are usually
oriented with the largest wall facing the morning sun making for a longer feeding day.
So is the case of these nests in my Brandon Township meadow.
NOTE: This unfortunately is most likely my last Earth's Almanac blog post for The Oakland Press. Number 436. Its been fun! Look for a new nature blog I have created that appears on the government website of Oakland County, Michigan. WWW.LIVEOAKLANDCOUNTY.COM is the direct link to my Oakland County Parks sponsored "The Wilder Side of Oakland County"and readers will also find posts from others that promote and share tales and facts about life in Oakland County.
Perhaps one day I will blog again for The Oakland Press.
I have left the door open for occasional posts.