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Name: Cankerworms

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Geometridae

Genus: Paleacrita

Species: P. vernata


Cankerworms (aka Inchworms) are common on shade trees in late spring.


They feed on the leaves of many different hardwood trees, including oaks, elms, apples, cherries, hickories, maples, ashes, beeches and lindens. In addition, large caterpillars often spin down on silk threads from large trees and feed on dogwood flowers, rose buds and other landscape ornamentals.

Method of Travel:



  • Landscape plant problems are most effectively managed with regular inspections and monitoring.
  • Prevent two consecutive years of defoliation – spraying and banding are usually necessary.

Steps to control:

  • Fertilize. Slow release tree fertilizer will help trees recover from cankerworm outbreaks. Routinely fertilized trees will be better able to withstand future stresses and insect outbreaks.
  • Good, long lasting, low-toxic methods of insect control can be done with Knock Down products.