Monday, May 1, 2017

We're Being Invaded By Baby Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

I love the Summer season, but I don't like what lurks outside. Ticks. Fleas. Bald Faced Hornets. Wasps. Red ants. As of late, we have something new to contend with. Gypsy Moth caterpillars. Tiny babies. There isn't a single area outside that isn't covered with these tiny creepy crawly things. To make matters worse, the grassy areas are infested. Each time we take the kids out, Lisa and I have to examine their fur. I've lost count how many we've pulled off the kids.

The cherry on top of the sundae...they bite. Lisa was covered in red dots after spending a few hours outside doing yard work. A lot of people, both young and old, are having reactions to these bites. The most common are hives. Myself included. It's so bad that parents are keeping their humans kids inside. While that isn't an option for us, we've reduced the amount of outside playtime with the kids.

Last summer, we had a massive infestation of caterpillars. I don't remember an infestation of the babies. What I do remember are the adult caterpillars crawling all over our porch. They covered the trees and ate most of the foliage. Some areas in our town and surrounding towns had bare trees by the end of June. Some of our neighbors couldn't even sit outside because of the caterpillar droppings. It was horrible.

I was reminded of one of the largest Gypsy Moth invasions of all time. I was in elementary school. What I remember most vividly is going to my grandparents house and seeing one side of their house completely covered. They lived on a dead end road surrounded by woods. When you stepped outside, it sounded like it was pouring rain. That was the sound of the caterpillars chomping on the leaves and pooping everywhere. I'll never forget that year. I've hated caterpillars ever since.

As their life cycle continued, we had moths. Lots and lots of Gypsy Moths. Swarms. Going outside sucked. At one point, I had to take a giant fly swatter and continuously swing it in front of me so they wouldn't get on my face. Lots of people had to cancel outdoor plans and cookouts or move them indoors.

Eventually, after a few weeks, their life cycle continued and they died off. It was such a relief, but we knew this year would be worse, especially with drought conditions. We needed a lot of snow and spring rain to produce the mold and fungus to kill them off.

We weren't hopeful.

There's a tree beside of our neighbors house that's infested with those white pillow Gypsy Moth nests. It hangs over our yard. It looks like something from a horror movie. I avoid looking at it when I take the kids outside.

It'll be interesting to see what happens this year. We've got some consecutive days of rain coming up and we're keeping our fingers and paws crossed that it's enough to kill them off.

We shall see...

*May 4th Update*

This was posted today on several Facebook pages...

I also came across this...


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