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These extreme webs have appeared over many of my young olive trees. They are pretty all engulfing and I can’t see any spiders. Last spring I saw a bush that had some kind of moth caterpillar population living in it and they’d created the most unbelievable mass of webs. Could it be that? Think it’s the wrong kind of year for those... I’m in the Uk. Can anyone advise? Thanks so much. enter image description here

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It does look quite horrific, never seen that on an olive tree before. You are right that it's probably not tent caterpillars as it's so late in the year, but I am not sure what the cause is. It has been a bumper year for spider breeding, so there are a lot of them about, and webs are much more visible because they hold moisture at this time of year, so it might just be ordinary spiders, but the webbing doesn't seem typical for that to be the cause, though it's the most likely explanation.

If the plant is otherwise healthy and you can see nothing in or on the webs, just keep an eye on it for signs of something that might be causing these. Sorry I'm not much help on this, I can't find any information on a specific problem that might be the cause. The RHS does have a helpline, but it's only available for members to use - if you are a member, contact them.

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  • Thanks so much for your response. I know someone who is a member so I’ll ask her to contact them. I washed the webs off with a hose (wrongly thinking they were spider mites) and so far they’ve not returned. Thanks again.
    – Nicola
    Nov 15, 2021 at 19:48
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    If teh RHS has an answer,, I'd be interested to hear it...
    – Bamboo
    Nov 15, 2021 at 22:31

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