IN341/EENY-184 by James R. MeekerOctober 26th, 2020The forest tent caterpillar, is the most widely distributed indigenous tent caterpillar in North America. It has been recognized as an important defoliator of a wide variety of deciduous hardwood trees throughout its range for many years. Although called a tent caterpillar, the larvae do not construct tents. Instead, they spin silken mats on the trunks and large branches where they congregate to molt or rest from feeding. Larvae also deposit silk in strands along which they travel to and from feeding sites. The caterpillars themselves are relatively harmless to people (i.e., they do not bite or sting) although a few people have an allergic reaction to handling them.