Monday, May 19, 2014

Tent Caterpillar Update

In my May 7th post, I discussed the return of the western tent caterpillar to Kitsap county.  They've been growing in size and damage.  I've noted no catastrophic damage as yet...that may come next year.  But the little buggers do seem to be starting to crawl away from their hosts trees now, possibly looking for a place to pupate.  I've seen them crawling around.  One showed up on my recycling bin (see photos).

For all the unsightly damage they do, the caterpillars really are rather pretty to look at.  And within a couple months they'll be gone and the branches they laid bare will be renewing their growth.  Just enjoy the beautiful and hideous spectacle while you can.

And a note for those of you wanting to use Bt to control these caterpillars:  It's too late.  Bt is really only effective against very young larvae and by this point, the caterpillars are too old.  Mid April would have been a  good time to spray with Bt.  But don't worry, they'll be back next year.  Remember:  Mid April.

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