Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's That Ishy Thing in the Tree?

Forest Tent Caterpillar

If you live by, or travel past, a hardwood forest in North America during the summer you know doubt have seen the signature tent-like cocoon  hanging on some poor unsuspecting aspen, oak, basswood or birch tree.  These unsightly sacks are home to a creepy crawly called the Forest Tent Caterpillar and once every 10-16 years these leaf lovers have a population explosion (lucky us!) and go on an eating rampage. Fortunately, it’s a native pest and does little lasting damage to  deciduous forests—except, perhaps, wound the pride of the glamorous hardwoods who must suffer the ignominy of appearing buck naked during the showy autumn season. 

Around Bon Bon Pond, these colorful critters have a hankering for black cherry trees.  Their cocooning and subsequent transition to moth-hood is supposed to occur   in the end of June or early July but this year, thanks to the late spring, the insects  are way behind schedule and still in their webs.

To learn more, visit the Minnesota DNR’s website which offers more info than anyone could possibly want to know about the ickies also known as army worms. 

Certainly not the loveliest sight around Bon Bon Pond, but they have their usefulness as a food source for birds and in forest management.

1 comment:

  1. EWWWWWW! I have seen these before and I had no idea what they were, I was just so freaked out how they seem to 'spasm' in their sacks. I was creeped out, but I still couldn't look away. thanks for creeping me out again :)


Thank you for taking the time to give us your comments!