Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tent Caterpillar Devastation

The word devastation may sound harsh, but it's true. Take a look at this alder tree at the Shinglemill Marina with newly hatched tent caterpillars. Yes, a few leaves have been stripped down to the veins, but by and large the foliage is intact. The following picture is just two weeks later. All those green leaves have been devoured.

The caterpillars have eaten themselves out of house and home, letting the blue sky shine through where once there was a canopy of leaves.

The picture above shows two large caterpillar tents, branches, seed-bearing catkins, and not much else. Now the caterpillars are on the move looking for their next (last?) meal. The caterpillars feast for 5-6 weeks before making a cocoon to change into a pupa. They undergo metamorphosis for three weeks inside and emerge as a short-lived moth. In only five days, the moths mate and females lay clusters of about 150 eggs. New caterpillars remain suspended over winter, to emerge again in late spring to start the process all over again. -- Margy

8 comments:

  1. Oh no! Do you think you should destroy those nests before they do such damage? Or let nature run its course?

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  2. Gorgeous! Visiting late from Sky Watch Friday.

    Please come take a peek at my Sky Shots, have a great weekend!

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  3. ew, this does not sound too good for trees. I noticed our tree out front is loosing a lot of its leaves lately. Too early for Fall season.

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  4. Too bad the birds are not eating all the tent caterpillars. They can really damage the trees.

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  5. Wow! The caterpillar devastation reminds me of Biblical plagues. That is amazing how those little critters can devour virtually all the leaves on a tree!

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  6. Oppps I posted my skywatch comment on this one, apologies. Came again for Camera critters. I am not into caterpillars AND other crawlers.

    Late visit from Camera Critters.

    Gila Monster and Bees have a blessed Sunday.

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  7. Thanks everyone for stopping by my Camera Critter post this week. Hopefully I'll find something a little more cuddly next week. - Margy

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