Crazy Caterpillars Consuming Crabapples!

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As Jim Chatfield and I wandered through the “Crablandia” plot evaluating and photographing crabapples today, we noticed multiple stages of the fall webworm munching on some of the foliage of the trees.  We first noticed the initial stages of the fall webworm caterpillars, which were small enough to have congregated on a single leaf.

Fall Webworm on 'spring Snow' crabapple
Initial stages of Fall Webworms on a single leaf

The next stage we noticed was a very small web nest of fall webworms, which had webbed over a small section of a crabapple branch, for their protection and feeding pleasure.

Fall Webworm feeding on 'Thunderchild' crabapple
Fall Webworms feeding on 'Thunderchild' crabapple

The next nest we noticed contained even larger caterpillars contained in larger web-covered areas for feeding.

Fall webworm nest in crabapple
Larger Fall Webworm nest in crabapple

Dang it, don’t those caterpillars get it?  Crabapples are not food… although we have to admit, they do make some very fine crabapple butter and jams!