How to Kill Tent Caterpillars : Easy Way – 2020

Tent caterpillars or also known as Eastern Tent Caterpillar are a not exactly a threat to plants. They do not eat all the leaves of a plant that may harm or kill those trees. But they are harmful in a sense that they can cover up the whole tree and it’s not exactly a pretty sight either. So if you want to get rid of them, there are some easy ways to kill them. You can use things that are available there at your house. You may have to apply several times for getting rid of them if your tree is entirely taken over by caterpillars. But have patience, it will go away. So now let’s get started to know how to kill tent caterpillars.

Here is The Quick checklist for How to Kill Tent Caterpillars Easy Way

Are Tent Caterpillars Poisonous?


Not necessarily. They may look like very poisonous and can ruin crops of the fields mile after mile, but they are not that dangerous. Or most of them are not. There are near 200000 types of caterpillars, and in reality, there is less than 1% of them is mildly dangerous to humans aside from some occasional blisters from brushing with them. But don’t tell it to anyone who owns a garden. They might see as a god’s curse upon their garden, and they might be very keen on getting rid of them to save their vegetables and fruits.

I think you understand, are tent caterpillars poisonous or not.

Understand their life cycle:

Understanding the lifecycle of a pest is crucial if you want to kill them effectively. Tent caterpillars show up in early spring, and they complete their lifecycle in summer. The tree that hosts them get enough time to grow new leaves and they do not die because of the caterpillar attack. But those nasty pests hamper the health of the tree. It damages the fruits as well. From January to March caterpillars lay eggs. In the spring eggs start to hatch. Then those larvae grow into adults in few months. Then again those adult moths begin to lay eggs. It continues to happen from fall to winter.

Burning the nests with a small propane torch:

People commonly use a propane torch to kill caterpillars from their trees. If caterpillar nest is not too high from the ground, try doing this. You will immediately see them dying. Many people follow this old method for getting rid of caterpillars. But the problem with this system is your tree also get damaged by this. You will see several black spots all over the tree because of the burn. It is not healthy for your tree at all. If the caterpillar nest is too high, you cannot reach it.

Using vegetable oil to kill caterpillars:

At first, know about the lifespan of caterpillars. When you know that all the caterpillars are now at the nest, then spray the nest with a lot of vegetable oil. Insects are made the way that they breathe through their skin. When you spray oil on them, they cannot breathe anymore. Their skin gets clogged, and they die. Vegetable oil is the best option. But there is a trick if you want to save some money. When you deep fry foods you cannot keep on using those oil again and again. Keep them for killing caterpillars. Pour the leftover oil in a spray bottle and spray all over them.

Use thuricide to kill the caterpillars:

A natural way to kill caterpillars is using thuricide. It is a kind of bacteria that is harmless to the humankind and animals. It harms the pests and kills them. It can be sprayed on vegetables and fruits as well. Mix a tablespoon of thuricide in a gallon of water. Then spray it within the 1000 sq. Ft. of your plant. Repeat it every two weeks. Within 7 or 10 days you will see them dying.

Make a Nest for Birds:

You will be amazed at reading this. Yes, you can remove worms by making a birds nest in the affected area. Birds eat worms for their living. It is one of the best nontoxic ways to kill caterpillars form your garden. If your garden is not too much affected, you can do this. The chicken will do the job efficiently as well. They all are very good at handling caterpillars.

How to Kill Tent Caterpillars with Soap Spray that can rid Insects:

If you are using soap method to get rid of caterpillars, then you will have to spray soap mixture directly on them. Make the soap water mixture by mixing tow tablespoon of dishwasher soap or any soap that you prefer with one quart of water. Keep them in a spray bottle mix it well and go the war with caterpillars. Make sure the soap you are using is biodegradable and is not harmful to plants. Or you will end up harming or killing own plants. It will be unjust to kill other animals or bugs that do not harm the plants.

Use Commercial Pesticides:

If the caterpillar family goes out of control to buy commercial pesticides that will kill them. Consider this as your last possible step because commercial pesticides are harmful to the environment, kids and plants. It kills beneficial insects from the soil as well. Make sure so that the children cannot come to contact of the area you have sprayed it.

To Control The Plant Some Useful Plants:

How to Kill Tent Caterpillars

There are good plants that attract good insects that eat up caterpillars. Cilantro, fennel or dill are good choices for that. Grow them throughout the year so that pests cannot come near the garden. It is a good replacement for harmful pesticides. Because we eat fruits from the trees and vegetables from the garden. If we use pesticides, those foods will not be beneficial to us anymore.


So these were some of the tricks on how to kill tent caterpillars. If you see a large nest of caterpillars in your tree, it is very alarming as it can defoliate your trees. After several seasons of defoliation, the tree can die completely.  Try to use some natural way to kill them if you are too bothered by them.

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