Estigmene acrea (Drury)
The larval stages of the saltmarsh caterpillar and the banded woolly bear are called woolly bears because of the long hairs covering their bodies. They are dark-headed, woolly, yellow, gray, black, or reddish- brown (some with rusty red and black bands) (Fig. 64 and 65). We will discuss both species as saltmarsh caterpillars because of their similar appearance, biology, and the damage they inflict.
The saltmarsh caterpillar is a problem on the edges of fields and where alternate host plants are available. Early in the growing season, large populations can develop in outbreak years, destroying plant stands along the field edges.
Treating isolated areas within a field or along the field borders effectively controls saltmarsh caterpillars and reduces their spread across fields.