RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s a sure sign fall is approaching – webworms. The insects spinning their webs on trees making for some creepy looking landscaping and this year has seen an unusually large outbreak on Long Island.

In pockets of Suffolk County, brown leaves can be found on almost every tree. A closer look reveals the Halloween-like webs.

“It’s horrible, they eat up everything, they fall on you, it’s disgusting. I don’t know what to do about it,” Dora Hargrove Forrest of Coram said.

The tiny native caterpillars that will turn into moths next spring are now part of the widespread outbreak. Dan Gilrein with Cornell Cooperative Extention says he’s not sure why.

“I don’t think in my 30 years of being here I’ve ever seen quite as much of it as we have had this year,” Dan Gilrein with the Cornell Cooperative Extention told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

DEC regional forester John Wernet says calls are pouring in from alarmed homeowners.

“I think the biggest issues is seeing the webs everywhere, it’s definitely a yucky factor.”

Wernet advises residents to let nature take its course and not remove branches because the damage to the trees is not as bad as it may look. Residents who still can’t stand the webs are urged to just take a broom or stick to get the webs out of the tree.

People looking for more information can contact one of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s horticulture diagnostic labs or visit their website here.


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