Infestations of this local, southerly distributed and sporadic pest occur on pear and, occasionally, other rosaceous hosts (Rosaceae) such as cherry and plum. The larvae feed gregariously in conspicuous webs, and often completely strip the foliage from affected shoots and branches. Attacks occur most frequently on young trees.
The active, fast-flying adults occur in May and June. Eggs are laid in large batches of about 50 on the underside of leaves and are then covered in a sticky, protective secretion. Larvae occur mainly in June and July. They feed voraciously, and their silken tents soon become very obvious. Fully fed individuals overwinter in the soil and eventually pupate in the spring, each in a flimsy silken cocoon.
Adult ll-14mm long; head black with a distinctive yellow patch between the antennae (Fig. 328); thorax black, with yellow tegulae; abdomen
orange apically and marked with yellow laterally; antennae yellow basally; legs yellow. Egg 1.5 mm long, yellow. Larva up to 25 mm long; body yellowish-orange with pale longitudinal stripes, a pair of shiny black prothoracic plates laterally, a pair of prominent antennae and prominent anal cerci; head black and shiny; thoracic legs well developed; abdominal prolegs absent (see Fig. 145).
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