Red Tail Hawk

 

Walking the farm road along the Swinnomish Channel on Fidalgo, Island, WA, coveys a setting of open space, peace and tranquility. Wild trees of various kinds, including apple, and elderberry, have grown over the years and break the flatness of these wetlands. However, those who notice trees see a problem. At the tips of many of the branches are large purse like webs, and these are covered in caterpillars. These are Tent Caterpillars. One can read about them in detail on Wikipedia, or other sources, but here are a few photos of them in action.

 

 

 

Latte

Latte looking for scent under a seemingly healthy tree.

 

Tent from tent caterpillar

A Tent Caterpillar dwelling.

These larvae construct beautiful dwellings into which they crawl at night. They need warmth in order to digest their leafy diet, so as the sun goes down they go inside. On a cloudy day, like the day this picture was taken, they cluster on top of their tent to catch what sun they can. On can see their droppings in the bottom of the tent, which are said to be good fertilizer, should one be diligent enough to extract it.

 

 

 

Bundle of caterpillars

A tidy bundle of Tent Caterpillars, Malacosoma.

While there are sprays which will kill these critters, they also kill the bees, which are becoming an endangered necessity in the polenization chain. It is suggested that one wait until evening, when the caterpillars have crawled into the tent, and then cut off the branch at the top of the tent and then put the tent into water, or burn it.
 

Eating the leaves

 

During the day, these caterpillars eat, voraciously.

 

Caterpillars in a rose bush

The Caterpillars love apple, cherry and other fruit trees. Clearly, they like this wild rose.

 

A stripped tree.

This is what is left when they have had their way with a plant.

 

 

 

The End

 

The Swinnomish Channel is still a nice place to walk, but just not as shady.

 





 

Don's Home Page, for more stories: www.jali.net

Don's email address: websterdr@yahoo.com