WEBWORMS, various species of cater pillars or lepidopterous larva, so named be cause of their habit of spinning webs of silk enclosing leaves upon which they feed, and also serving as a shelter. As a rule neither the web-spinning nor the social habit is so highly developed as in the tent-caterpillars (q.v.), but there is no sharp distinction in the application of the two names. The species of caterpillars exhibiting such habits are quite numerous and belong to a number of genera and families of moths (q.v.). Some of them are of consider able economic importance. The fall webworm is the larva of the small white moth (Hy phantria cuneo). As soon as they leave the egg all of the larvae hatching from a mass spin a common web enclosing several leaves. After these are eaten the caterpillars wander farther and farther in search of food, sometimes de stroying the entire foliage of a tree, but always returning to the shelter of the nest to rest when not feeding. The web may be extended to include whole branches. The caterpillars are covered with long hairs, and there are two broods, one in the spring and one in the fall. the latter being unusual among species of similar habit, wherefore the name. All kinds of shade and ornamental trees suffer from their attacks. Typical of a large and quite distinct
group of caterpillars is the garden webworm (Losostege sinsilalis). which is a small, nearly naked caterpillar, that feeds in company on all kinds of garden vegetables, the leaves of which are drawn together in small webs. Some of the related species form large colonies, and one small form is often very destructive to dried clover hay. The root wcbworms are cater pillars of the little roll-wing moths. Crombes vnlviaagel/ns is a common species, which spins a web about the stalks and roots of grass to which, as well as to corn, it is sometimes very destructive. The true tent-caterpillars (q.v.) belong to the genus ChsiocamPa and family Bontbyt-uhe or silk-spinning moths. A quite unrelated species is Caccerie cerasirorana, which forms veritable silken tents, sometimes cover ing small trees entirely. The general method of combating webworrns is to destroy their winter, to burn the newly-formed tents rn to spray the foliage about the tents with arsenical solutions. The ground-webs may be checked by fall plowing. Consult Harris and Flint. 'Insects Injurious to Vegetation' (New York 1884), and publications of the United States Department of Agriculture.