May Not Only Brings Spring Flowers, But Also Caterpillars
Forget the Baby Boom or the tech boom. How about the caterpillar boom?
Well, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun, branches of fruit trees are being bombarded by western tent caterpillars, who are enjoying a boom in population recently.
It's a peak year for the insects, which hatch from web "tents" high in trees. Then the bugs proceed to make breakfast, lunch and dinner out of green leaves.
The caterpillars form cocoons, and later emerge as moths and promptly mate. When the caterpillars become abundant, they fall prey to parasites and disease, which stems their numbers the following year, according to experts.
The last population explosion occurred in 2004 and 2005. In the years since, tent caterpillars have been hardly noticeable. This year, the crawlers are everywhere.
The fluctuation has less to do with climate and weather patterns than natural enemies, said Van Hezewijk, noting tent caterpillars seem to peak in numbers about every decade.
The tents, containing the eggs, start to appear each year at the beginning of May and are quite small and easy to remove, he said. The eggs hatch and caterpillars started to eat.
The best way to get rid of the caterpillars is to remove the affected branches from trees or spray them with a microbial spray, which isn't harmful to humans or other insects.