Around this time of year, keep an eye out for webbing caterpillars (tea tree web moth) on your woody natives, such as Leptospermum and Melaleuca.

The branches become bare of leaves and encrusted with a webbing full of brown dust-like material, which consists of foliage and droppings. The caterpillars can totally strip the foliage, resulting in complete skeletonising of the plant. Ultimately this will be very detrimental to the plant’s health.

To kill the caterpillars, cut off the infected stems and place them in boiling water, or you can simply dispose of the webbed stems in the bin.

Overall, plants that are very healthy and thriving are much less likely to be attacked, so the best prevention is to simply take good care of your natives.

Webbing Moth

Tea Tree Web Moth by Peter Marriott