The fall webworm is a widely distributed native pest of shade trees and shrubs and appears from late summer through early fall. It feeds on almost 90 species of deciduous trees commonly attacking hickory, walnut, birch, cherry, and crabapple. This species acts similarly to the eastern tent caterpillar, but the fall webworm constructs its nest over the end of the branch rather than at tree crotches. The large conspicuous webs contain caterpillars, dead partially eaten leaves, and fecal droppings.
The larval stage of this pest skeletonizes and consumes leaves inside the protection of a tent-like web that they enlarge as they require additional food and grow. They may defoliate a tree occasionally, but rarely kill it. On shade trees webs usually occur on occasional branches. They may not injure the tree appreciably, but they reduce its ornamental value.