Sunday, June 16, 2013

Forest Tent Caterpillars

My youngest garden-helper interrupted my phone conversation this afternoon by bringing me a fuzzy caterpillar held in a bath toy.  Shortly thereafter, another appeared to fall from the sky at my feet and another was found on the sidewalk at the side of the house.  If they were that easy to find, I assume the forest is laden with them.  With the benefit of a quick Google search, I found that these are Forest Tent Caterpillars.

Saskatchewan media reported a few weeks ago that Saskatchewan is in for a large infestation of these crawlies, especially in northern Saskatchewan.  The problem is that they can rapidly defoliate deciduous trees.  (Although, if they could effectively kill the poplars that pop up everywhere in my yard, I'd be forever grateful...)  From what I read, it is not likely that these will threaten any of the landscape trees/plants in my yard. 

We are keeping a few of them in the kids little plastic critter-box for now.  They sound rather like nuisance critters, and besides the adult form is not very attractive.  That is to say, if this was the caterpillar of a luna moth or swallowtail, I'd be having a bit more love for them.  Yes, looks matter.  So I'm shallow.

From the looks of the bite marks in the leaves we put in the critter box, these ones like aspen leaves.  


--Leanan-- said...

They like anything they can get their teeth on :D
And yes...I have to agree with you: they are really ugly :D

Barbarapc said...

They are equal opportunity feeders. My grandmother would always travel with a large stick when we walked in the forest. Every tent she'd come upon, she'd bash it with her stick to open it so the birds could feed. I tried doing it myself a couple of years ago - was surprised at how strong tiny little grandmother must have been.