The forest tent caterpillar (FTC), Malacosoma disstria, is a native defoliator of a wide variety of hardwood trees and shrubs and can be found throughout the range of all hardwood forests in North America.
FTCs primarily feed on:
- FTCs are often mistakenly called army worms.
- Populations peak every 10–16 years.
- Defoliation causes little damage. A second set of leaves will develop by mid-July.
- There are natural control mechanisms that will cause populations to collapse.
- FTCs are native insects and play critical roles in structuring aspen mixed-wood forests and helping to improve forest dynamics.