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Fall webworm infestation in Yellow Springs

YELLOW SPRINGS — Yellow Springs is dealing with an infestation of fall webworms.

“I think people have been seeing them throughout southwestern Ohio,” Don Cipollini, professor of biological sciences at Wright State University said.

He explained, the native insect spins silken webs and feeds off trees’ leaves. They have been documented on more than 600 species of trees and shrubs.

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“They can entirely defoliate trees when there are large amounts of them feeding and growing together in the same tree,” Cipollini said.

However, this late in the season, that doesn’t pose a big risk to the trees.

“This time of year, the trees have grown and photosynthesized all spring and summer long, so they have a lot of stored resources in the stem and roots, so they can recover from this,” Cipollini said.

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He also explained, the fall webworms are non-toxic. However, they can irritate skin if people handle them. They can also irritate pets’ stomachs and make them vomit.

Cipollini expects the webs to clear out in a few weeks.