Monday, July 3, 2017

Gypsy Moth caterpillars nearly done eating

--and none too soon.  As they've grown, their droppings have become bigger and bigger, until they are now often BB-sized.  (Makes me afraid to look up, lest I see the mammoth creatures looking down at me.)  They are still active in some trees, but I have already seen a lot of cocoons in their favorite white oaks.

 Late in May caterpillars are barely a centimeter long,
and leaves are still nearly pristine (white oak, 5/27).

Earlier in June, caterpillars are numerous but small (white oak & black oak; 6/7)

These guys appear to LOVE white oak.  (How many caterpillars can you see?*)

A week or so later, they're a good deal bigger (black oak; 6/15, 6/17)

 A piece of newspaper left out under this big black oak for about 20 hours on 7/2-7/3...

...yielded only a few--but very large--caterpillar poop (aka frass). 

 Cocoons (chrysalises?) in neighboring twigs of one white oak (7/2).

Last year, I first found cocoons on July 2nd, and the first moths on July 11.  If last year is a good indication, we will be inundated with moths beginning in less than two weeks!

*I counted eight.

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