Caterpillars and Flies

No one attending the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage this year could have escaped without noticing hundreds and hundreds of Eastern Tent Caterpillars AND hundreds and hundreds of very large and rather attractive (if annoying) flies called Friendly Flies.

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Fly

A fellow naturalist mentioned that there is a correlation between these two… but didn’t have the exact details, or we got interrupted before he could finish his explanation…  so, I googled it… (Have I mentioned how much I love the internet?)

It turns out that the Friendly Fly lays its eggs on the pupa of the Tent Caterpillar which the fly’s larva will eat.  While you may find Tent Caterpillars in the woods every year, the population gets very high in cycles of about 10 to 15 years.  When their population is high, so is the population of Friendly Flies.

There’s an explanation for everything, I guess!

Read more by clicking –> here.

4 thoughts on “Caterpillars and Flies

  1. Hi Jennifer, This was our first year attending the ANP and also staying on Red House instead of Quaker. I’m so glad you mentioned the abundance of ‘friendly flies’. I couldn’t believe how many flies were at our cabin on Ryan. We were joking that all the flies must live at Red House, because we never had them on Quaker. We were thankful they weren’t the biting kind!!

  2. Oh, I wish I lived a little closer and could attend these functions! This is very interesting, Jennifer. I am fascinated by and love learning about the symbiotic relationships of nature. ~karen

  3. Once again the Pilgrimage has come AND gone! I love starting my summer this way. Sharing nature with kids & big Kids! I do miss leading field trips so maybe it is time to switch hats and get out and get wet! Thank you to all 500+ who attended this year. Spred the word and watch your NYS govt too make sure they dont close or mine this park!

  4. Great post about the friendly flies and the tent caterpillars. My woods had what I would call a mild outbreak this year. A neighbor across the way wanted to know if he could spray them and I told him no because I didn’t believe in chemicals mixed with nature. I just let them be and no harm came from my method. But maybe it was not my method — rather the friendly flies at work. Good to know about these wonderful predators. Next time I will tell my neighbor I have something better than spray — I have the mighty friendly flies. Thanks — barbara

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