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Attack Of The Caterpillars!

Mighty_Emperor

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Caterpillars envelop St Petersburg

Swarms of hungry caterpillars have defoliated trees in Russia's second city, St Petersburg, covering them with cobwebs and transforming public parks into scenes likened by Russia TV to sets from a horror film.

"The situation is critical," Tatyana Dorofeyeva, an insects specialist at the parks' protection department said. She said that the authorities' countermeasures taken to date were thought to be no more than 50% effective.

The bird-cherry ermine moth caterpillars ( Yponomeuta evonymella ) strip the trees of leaves and then cover what's left with a cobweb-like substance from the roots up.

They're still multiplying
Russia TV correspondent
"Right now the caterpillars are multiplying at an incredible rate and producing their cobwebs on an industrial scale," the TV reported.

Parks' department staff are said to be working flat-out to contain the outbreak.

"The caterpillars are not poisonous but in these quantities they could aggravate allergic reactions, biologists say. Trees are inspected after being sprayed. The results are not reassuring. They're still multiplying," a correspondent said.

"The city had no idea that it was under threat from such an invasion," Galina Tyullina, head of the parks' protection department, said. "If the situation had been monitored in good time and arrangements made for treatment to be carried out, we could have gone out spraying in early May and headed this off in advance."

The city's inhabitants are already bracing themselves, first for the airborne invasion of bird-cherry ermine moths when the pupae hatch in four weeks' time: and then for next year's expected sequel - dubbed by the TV "Invasion of the Caterpillars 2".

BBC Monitoring , based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/3810487.stm

Published: 2004/06/16 09:13:13 GMT

© BBC MMIV
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Population explosion of caterpillars takes over Massachusetts



Springfield, Massachusetts-AP -- The state of Massachusetts is under siege -- by caterpillars.

Scientists are trying to figure out what caused an apparent boom in the population of both native and introduced species of caterpillars. The hungry larva are chomping away at the state's greenery.Species like the tent caterpillar and the gypsy moth caterpillar return in regular cycles, but the winter moth caterpillar is a new menace to the area.Scientists say the winter moth has been in Nova Scotia for decades and is only now making its appearance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Other areas reporting outbreaks are Oregon and Washington state.
http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=1962417
 

MagikBug

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POISONOUS CATERPILLARS CLOSE SCHOOLS


An outbreak of poisonous caterpillars has closed several schools and kindergartens in Germany.

The oak processionary caterpillars have multiplied by the thousands in recent days.


Municipal authorities said contact with the stiff-haired spines of the caterpillars can lead to skin rashes and asthma attacks.

One school in the town of Roedermark Ober Roden has been closed for two days as a result of the outbreak.

Exterminators dressed from head-to-toe in protective gear have set to work destroying and removing the cocoons from school yards in the area.

Because the caterpillars prefer sunlight to shade, they tend to multiply in parks and playgrounds.

Authorities said an unusually warm and dry 2003 had initially drawn the insects to Germany from their preferred habitats in regions farther south.
Source
 

TonyLaMesmer

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Apologies if this has been posted before, but just stumbled across this:

user.it.uu.se/~svens/larverna/normal.html
Link is unusable nowadays (security / access obstacle). The webpage as of the date of this posting can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060805054718/http://user.it.uu.se/~svens/larverna/normal.html


:shock:

Can anybody translate the text? And is it normal for catepillars to "swarm" in such a manner?

Thanks..
 
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PeniG

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The language isn't in my limited repertoire and it doesn't look as though my dial-up's going to be able to load all the pictures, but from what I can tell it looks like a perfectly ordinary mass hatching of inchworms.

Remember that insects are extreme "R" strategists - that is, they invest minimal energy into maximal numbers of offspring. In this case, a female attached a web nest laden with several thousand eggs in a place where she could expect nice nutritious leaves to be available at about the time the eggs hatched. Insect eggs are often not on a timer so much as on a sensor, so they hatch when conditions for survival are at optimum, regardless of season, which can make it hard for calendar-oriented humans to keep track of the natural cycles. Also, good years and bad years yield different numbers of eggs, as the capacity to lay eggs diminishes or increases with the nutritional wellbeing of the mother. If you look in the background of the first two pictures, you'll see other white, stripped-looking trees, each of which presumably has its own load of inchworms.

If the location in question hasn't killed or driven off all its natural predators, the inchworm hatching should be accompanied by a concentration of predators, mostly other insects, birds, and small mammals; which is how any plants at all survive.
 

rynner2

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Amazing pictures! (I have broadband, but it still took a few minutes to load the page.)

Something surreal about the bike covered in web.

Worth a look.
 

GNC

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Is this phenomenon anything to do with global warming?
 

tastyintestines

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mmm bag worms... We have them round here. I'm pretty sure they can thrive at any summertime temp and viable food sources. yuck



 

Vardoger

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It says: "The day when larvas arrived in Flogsta"
 

Degrizzzz

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Love the pictures with the bikes !

I suspect the local bird population is in for a field day :)
 

Mulder1800

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WOW Natural or not those are some amazing pictures, very very interesting indeed!
 

ogopogo3

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TonyLaMesmer said:
And is it normal for catepillars to "swarm" in such a manner?
Around these parts, the tent catepillars come out in full force every seven years or so. Not sure of why this cycle exists, but the woods and houses near the woods are just covered with the things during those summers.

Was poking around the web looking for info and I found that some local guy makes wine out of them. Wonderful.

Duluth News Tribune | 10.31.2002

Full-bodied Vintage
by Candace Renalls | DNT

Some people react with a grimace and "Yuck!" Others are willing to give it a try.

But Ray Reigstad's latest experiment in home winemaking—which took advantage of last summer's forest tent caterpillar invasion— definitely gets a reaction.

"Either they say they want some or they are completely disgusted and say they would never taste it," he said.

Reigstad, you see, has made wine out of the dreaded caterpillars commonly called army worms.

For many Northland residents, just the thought of such a wine conjures up memories of millions of hairy, squishy, dark green caterpillars defoliating trees and bushes. And memories of masses of army worms crawling up the sides of houses, marching down sidewalks and parachuting from trees.

But in the crawly creatures, Reigstad saw potential.

After months of straining, fermenting and aging his brew in the basement of his Lakeside home, his 11-gallon batch of army worm wine is ready.

"It's a white wine; I'd say it would go really good with walleye or any seafood, but especially a freshwater fish," Reigstad said.

A Blind Taste Test
Four local wine connoisseurs invited to taste the wine described it as dry, pale and crisp. They compared it to a pinot grigio or white bordeaux.

The comparison came before they were told exactly what went into the wine. Afterward, they joked that it was the best insect wine they've ever tasted. It's also the only one they've ever tasted.

"I was surprised how similar it tastes to grape wine, said Derek Mahle, the Duluth area distributor for Quality Wine & Spirits in Bloomington, Minn.

"I've never heard of anything this bizarre," said Mark Casper, owner of Keyport Liquor Outlet in Superior.

"If I was looking for a wine made from larvae, I'd choose this," quipped Andrew Swanson of Fitger's Wine Cellars in Duluth.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, all three gave the wine a 7. All in all, a positive review.

An Experienced Winemaker
Reigstad, 36, is no novice when it comes to winemaking. Serious about his hobby, he's been making wine for 13 years.

Reigstad started making wine with his grandmother who lived in southern Minnesota. They used rhubarb and grapes from her gardens. When she died two years ago, he continued the tradition in his own home.

Besides the usual grape wines, Reigstad has made wine with grapefruit, dandelions, rhubarb, strawberries, bananas, plums, blackberries and lilac blossoms.

Reigstad got the idea for army worm wine last year from a co-worker who told him that his grandfather used to make it. That got Reigstad thinking about how it could be done since wine is typically made from a fruit or flower.

"Army worms eat leaves," he reasoned. "So essentially they're a combination of fruit and flowers."

For blueberry wine, Reigstad uses two pounds of blueberries per gallon. For dandelion wine, he uses six cups of dandelions per gallon. Because of their density, he figured 1 pounds of worms per gallon would do it.

"I had no idea what this was going to taste like," he said. "I seriously didn't know how it would turn out."

A Simple Process
Reigstad and his girlfriend began by gathering forest tent caterpillars in the Fish Lake area in mid-June. They waited until the end of the caterpillars' feasting cycle when they were big. Using a whisk broom, they swept masses of worms from tree limbs into clean 6-gallon plastic buckets. When they had about seven pounds of worms in each bucket, Reigstad poured boiling water on them, killing them instantly.

After removing debris that surfaced, Reigstad mashed the army worms up a bit. He added sugar, campden tablets, yeast and other ingredients before covering the bucket and leaving it to ferment.

"It starts bubbling and smelling like rotting fruit," he said, explaining that that's normal.

At the end of a week, Reigstad scooped out the caterpillars with a kitchen strainer and threw them away.

"Hold the strainer up and let it drip out to get the full army worm flavor," he advised anyone planning to replicate his wine.

The wine—which was a green liquid at this point—was strained and funneled into 5-gallon glass jugs called carboys, fitted with air-lock caps. The jugs were left to ferment for three months, during which time they were periodically strained. While most wines need to be siphoned to a clean jug four or five times to clear sediment, Reigstad only had to do it twice with army worm wine.

"This army worm wine cleared real fast, like apple wine," he said. "The clarity surprised me."

A Special Gift
After 4 months, the wine is ready to drink.

"It's good," Reigstad said. "For my taste, it's on the sweet end. It tastes a little bit like rhubarb wine. My grandmother and I used to make that."

Making army worm wine didn't come without its mishaps. During fermentation, one jug's cap blew off and shot wine all over Reigstad's basement.

"It was a mess," Reigstad recalled. "My brother said it was the army worms' revenge."

His 11 gallons will yield about 70 25-ounce bottles of wine, which he plans to give as Christmas presents.

Some lucky folks will get a bonus. Reigstad saved and froze 30 large army worms to put in bottles, similar to the worms put in some tequila bottles.

Who will get those bottles?

"Very special people," Reigstad said. "Not necessarily people I like, but they'll be special in their own way.
http://www.armywormwine.com/info.html
 

EnolaGaia

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A particularly problematic stinging caterpillar is proliferating in the eastern USA.

PussCaterpillar.jpg

This cute fur ball can ruin your day ...

Poisonous Caterpillars That Look Like Bad Wigs Are Popping Up All Over Virginia

No matter how cute and fuzzy this critter looks, don't touch it.

This toupée-like insect is one of the most poisonous caterpillars in the US. Named the furry puss caterpillar - perhaps for its resemblance to less venomous house cats - people who brush up against its hairy coat have a painful reaction.

And according to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), there have been reports of the puss caterpillar in a few eastern Virginia counties. ...

The insect's fuzzy veneer hides venomous spines. As the caterpillars grow in size, before they change into equally fuzzy southern flannel moths, their venom becomes more toxic.

Their painful sting is followed by swelling and redness, but those who get stung may also experience symptoms like headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, seizure, and in rare cases, abdominal pain, according to a 2005 paper published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Some people may even experience multiple stings because the caterpillars can fall from trees and become lodged in clothes, "particularly shirt collars," the authors wrote.

The Florida Poison Information Centre (FPIC) recommends treating puss caterpillar stings by placing scotch tape over the sting, then peeling it off to remove the spines. ...

In 2018, a puss caterpillar dropped from a tree onto 5-year-old Adrie Chambers who was playing in the yard of her Texas Daycare.

Chambers's arm went numb, and she was rushed to the hospital where she was treated with steroids and made a full recovery.

A Florida teenager also got stung in 2018 and was hospitalized shortly after. ...

Outbreaks of puss caterpillar stings even prompted public school closures in Texas in 1923 and 1951. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/poison...ike-bad-wigs-are-popping-up-all-over-virginia
 

PeniG

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Oh, no no, that is not a tribble. It has the deceptively cute name of the puss caterpillar and if Kirk were buried in them like that he'd be dead.

Perhaps I have already told this story in this thread but I will tell it again. Years ago, as I stood up from eating lunch outside to go back to work, I felt something bounce against my knee and saw something fuzzy had attached itself to the hem of my skirt. I brushed it off with the back of my thumb.

By the time I got to the elevator hand and knee were stinging; by the time I got back to the office I was in sufficient pain that the first thing I did was go to the internet to try to find out what that had been; and within half an hour I was writhing on the floor. I was in too much pain to do anything but wash the knee and the thumb and cry for, if I recall correctly, about six hours. According to all the research I could do I got off very lightly indeed, probably because the contacts were so slight and I was able to start washing the toxin out almost immediately. Twelve hours of pain is more common; and days are not unheard of. If you see one, stay away; if it's already on your clothes knock it off with a stick or something. You do not want to feel the way I did.
 

feinman

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Oh, no no, that is not a tribble. It has the deceptively cute name of the puss caterpillar and if Kirk were buried in them like that he'd be dead.

Perhaps I have already told this story in this thread but I will tell it again. Years ago, as I stood up from eating lunch outside to go back to work, I felt something bounce against my knee and saw something fuzzy had attached itself to the hem of my skirt. I brushed it off with the back of my thumb.

By the time I got to the elevator hand and knee were stinging; by the time I got back to the office I was in sufficient pain that the first thing I did was go to the internet to try to find out what that had been; and within half an hour I was writhing on the floor. I was in too much pain to do anything but wash the knee and the thumb and cry for, if I recall correctly, about six hours. According to all the research I could do I got off very lightly indeed, probably because the contacts were so slight and I was able to start washing the toxin out almost immediately. Twelve hours of pain is more common; and days are not unheard of. If you see one, stay away; if it's already on your clothes knock it off with a stick or something. You do not want to feel the way I did.
Yikes! That is terrible..
 

EnolaGaia

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... Twelve hours of pain is more common; and days are not unheard of. If you see one, stay away; if it's already on your clothes knock it off with a stick or something. You do not want to feel the way I did.
I've been stung by all sorts of wasps, hornets, and bees (up to 15 or more honeybee stings at a time), but none of them was anywhere near as bad as the sting of a saddleback (aka "pack saddle") caterpillar that nailed my bare foot as a kid. It was the most intense and persistent stinger pain I've ever felt (even though I got immediate first aid).
 

EnolaGaia

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This Australian Geographic webpage provides more info on the processionary caterpillars and the problems they represent.
These congregating caterpillars are even more dangerous than they look

If you’re looking for something dangerously stupid, look no further than the delightfully contradictory processionary caterpillar.

IN ONE MOMENT, these congregating larvae can be found marching in a never-ending circle of mindless confusion, and in another, they’re killing baby horses in the womb.

Meet Ochrogaster lunifer: one of Australia’s strangest species of caterpillar, wielding no less than 2 million finely barbed hairs that will inflict a nasty case of hives – or worse – if you happen to touch one. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.australiangeographic.co...llars-are-even-more-dangerous-than-they-look/
 

Mungoman

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Have you seen these @Mungoman ? :freak:
Hello Possum...

I reckon that every schoolkid has seen these fellas traipsing across the Land - and believe me, these kids are fully aware of the dangers associated with 'em - but - the whole point in Australia about this Biota that will kill you stone dead, is not the fact that they can - the point for any schoolkid is to see how close you can go to the source of your imminent death without...dying.

A word about Australian school kids...If you turned down the urged opportunity to cheat DEATH, that reputation follows you even unto your retirement, and is brought up at every middle aged BBQ as soon as you walk in....G'day Jon...seen any hairy caterpillars lately mate?

You've seen that fillum 'Lord of the Flies' by that Golding Fella?

Read the book maybe?

Well - the title should have given you a hint of where Mr Fielding got his idea from. Most Aussie schoolkids would've thought it funny to pick up one of these with their blackened, calloused little hands, and wait until in class, so that while your head is earnestly bent toward the learning of subject and predicate in our text books, the opportunity would arise for them to furtively slip one of these ambulatory moustachio's down the neck of your shirt..,.and then wait.

I do admit that this sort of behaviour was happening when I went to school sixty year ago - and much worse, but I think that oue schoolkids have become 'civilized' since then...and that they would no longer participate in such unconscionable behaviour toward their betta or gamma classmates...

Excuse the digression Frides - seeing these little fellows again brought back some memories of my introduction to Australian Kids, and Australian schools, and that book, Lord of the Flies - a text book for mid century Australian schools - If there ever was one...
 
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