They’re BACK!

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

With all this springtime blooming and sprouting comes another season of creepy crawlies. I’m generally not squeamish about all manner of fauna and am mostly fascinated by the discoveries I make in the garden, but there is just something about the way that tent caterpillars and fly maggots squirm and writhe that makes me shudder. I mean, I wouldn’t rule out maggot therapy if a vital limb was decaying and could be saved by a few dozen maggots, but until that time comes I prefer to keep them and their creepy tent caterpillar friends at a nice, safe distance.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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10 thoughts on “They’re BACK!

  1. *scoff*
    You’re such a GIRL.

    Heehee, just teasin. One spring I was on a desperate hunt for these guys; my mantis nymphs were getting too big to be filled up on fruit flies and I needed something slightly bigger, yet semi-soft and easily accessible. A few nests of FTC kept my ‘kids’ growing through a moult & until the bigger bugs were out.

    And? Entomology be damned, if I am caught off guard by a spider or centipede, I will scream like a girl.

  2. We never had these on the west coast, so when I first saw the tents this spring, I was sure they were the beginnings of a new race of pod people that were going to emerge and take over the world. I just knew they were coming to get me.

    And they did, but they were just much tinier, plumper and hairier than I expected, with many more feet. Now they are ALL OVER my garden. I let my kids catch them, and I tell them that while they sleep, Daddy finds them a new home. (I neglect to mention that this home is of the ethereal sort).

  3. Ewwwwww no!! Don’t like any kind of small creepy critters. My mom always used to say that a very large draft horse could do anything around me and not bother me but that a small one inch critter would have me running and screaming at the hills! LOL

  4. EWWW! I don’t think I have ever seen a tent caterpillar BUT all things creepy crawly can stay far away from me. I don’t mind having them in the gardens just as long as they keep hidden when I am out there:)

  5. There’s something disconcerting about walking down the street and suddenly a tent caterpillar thing dangles down … worse, eating outdoors and plop, down comes another tent caterpillar thing.

  6. Ok, their squeamishly fascinating but how do I get rid of them from an apple tree? My partner is brandishing a saw but there has to be something else???????? HELP>>>>>

  7. Heather: Removing the webs with caterpillars) from the tree with an old broom is one of the best methods. The broom makes it easier to grab hold of the web and pull it out. Then you just kill the caterpillars using soapy water or the bottom of your foot.

    Depending on how prolific the population it can mean getting out there every day to repeat these steps until they are gone.

  8. Ick. I squished as many as I could find when they were little, but somehow I missed a tree on the far side of my property and it has been totally taken over. Like by thousands of these nasty buggers.

    Maybe I can get at least some of them with the soapy water trick. . .

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