Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ghostly infestation

An avenue of trees on Jesus Green has been taken over by caterpillars - caterpillars of the ermine moth. This is the second time this has happened, although this year it is even more extensive.  A couple of the trees did not fully recover from last year's attack and given that the caterpillars have stripped every tree of every leaf, it will be interesting to see if the trees can survive.

It is a weird sight, with the trees looking as though they have been in a sharp frost.  There is a ghostly white bloom to the branches and trunks with the webs extending out across the grass.  There are countless caterpillars, some in great knots beneath the (surprisingly tough) silk blanket, whilst others rush up and down the tree trunks.  Given that it is spring and the area is full of nesting birds, the caterpillars must taste particularly bad for them to be so ignored.


  1. That looks such really weird stuff - like set-dressing for a horror movie!

  2. It is incredibly weird. It does look like something from a movie. It is hard to convey the oddness of realising the whole tree is heaving with tiny caterpillars.