As an adult, spruce budworms are usually small, spotted, rusty-brown moths. Their colors may vary from tan to almost black amongst the populations. Spruce budworms are present from June to early August. After mating, females lay anywhere from twenty-five to forty eggs on the bottom side of the needles. The eggs will hatch in about ten days. When the eggs hatch, the young larvae move to crevices under the bark scales (lichens) where they spin silken shelters called hibernacula. They hibernate all winter and do not feed until the spring. Towards the end of April into early May, the larvae migrate towards foliage. They eat old needles and host tree flowers. Within a few weeks, they enter the developing buds where they web the new foliage together loosely. They feed inside these webs where they are somewhat protected from their predators. About forty days after feeding began in the spring (about the end of June), the larvae pupate inside their feeding webs or on the foliage. During this stage, the larvae transform into adult budworms within their cocoons. The adults emerge about a week later and the cycle is complete. There is one generation... [continues]
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