Eastern tent caterpillars survive the winter in masses of 100 to 300 eggs noticeable as shiny black bands encircling twigs. Eggs hatch in spring at about the same time as the host tree comes into leaf. The young caterpillars then begin to consume leaves and spin the characteristic ‘tent’ nest in the crotch of the tree. The nest continues to grow as long as the caterpillars keep feeding. When the caterpillars reach maturity, after about six weeks, they pupate in silken cocoons visible on trees, on the sides of buildings and on fences. Moths emerge in July to mate, lay eggs and then die.
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