Caterpillars on our pear tree

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JTh

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Caterpillars on our pear tree
« on: May 02, 2018, 09:32:01 PM »
Does anybody recognize these caterpillars? They are around 4-5 cm long with a black bodies and hairy bristles. They were amazingly efficient and managed to strip several branches on our pear tree completely before we stopped them by picking them off with forceps and drowning them in water (sorry, no mercy in this case). They seem to spin silky webs after moulting, we have to brush off these as well, I suppose.


_4302129.jpg Moth caterpillars
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr


_4302130.jpg Moth caterpillars
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr


_4302133.jpg Moth caterpillar attack
by Jorun Tharaldsen, on Flickr

Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: Caterpillars on our pear tree
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2018, 07:42:57 AM »
Have a look at Eriogaster lanestris, Jorun.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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JTh

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Re: Caterpillars on our pear tree
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 02:30:23 PM »
Thank you, Alisdair, they certainly look very much like  Eriogaster lanestris. At first I was afraid that the moths were the same as those attacking mountain birch, (Betula pubescens var. pumila, in the mountains in Norway, the autumnal moth (Epirrita autumnata[/i]), which may kill the trees if they are attacked repeatedly. Eriogaster lanestris does not seem to be very harmful; there are more pears on that tree than we can eat.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.