We were just asked by a reader (in all capital letters) “Why do the black inch worms coming out of my oak trees keep climbing the walls of my house when I thought they were supposed bury themselves in the ground until next year?”
Inchworms are known to infest trees and shrubs and can sometimes be considered annoying to landscapers and gardeners. Despite having the word “worm” in their name, inchworms are actually caterpillars, which in this case are the larvae of moths. Inchworms have big appetites (since they are preparing to become moths) and they can cause significant damage to vegetation.
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Inchworms have a life cycle of a year, but there is a fall cycle and a spring cycle. The difference depends on when they emerge from pupae, either in late fall or late spring. We assume our reader is dealing with the fall cycle of inchworms. Once inchworms emerge, they mate, then lay eggs on small tree branches, which will hatch in the spring. All eggs lain during the fall and winter will hatch during the spring, and then the hatched inchworms will feed for about a month before burrowing into the ground in late spring or early summer. Fall inchworms will emerge from the ground in fall and start the cycle again.
Since it is late fall, we think our reader might be confused on when the inchworms are supposed to burrow, since this doesn’t take place for another 4-6 months. We aren’t sure why these inchworms are crawling all over our reader’s house. However, we do have a natural suggestion on how he can get rid of them. He could consider introducing a natural predator into his yard to help eliminate inchworms. Some predators are yellow jackets, wasps, and ground beetles. We wish our reader the best of luck with this issue.
In summary, a reader was panicked about inchworms crawling on his house walls. We provided some information on the inchworm life cycle and a natural solution to this problem.
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