I heard a strange sound in the woods today. I was a sound I recognized, but one I hadn’t heard since the so-called gypsy moth infestation of about 20 years ago. It was the sound of caterpillar poops raining down from the treetops. The thought of caterpillar poop in my hair was unsettling, but the questions that it raised bothered me more. You see, I was told that it was gypsy moths that we were fighting all those years ago, and now I’m almost certain that it wasn’t.
That summer there were caterpillars everywhere. There were so many of them, we tried to save the trees by scraping the caterpillars into jars, which we then sealed up and threw away. An interesting thing about caterpillars sealed in a jar—they sort of explode. It’s really disgusting (and gooey and green), but as a means of killing caterpillars, it’s not as bad as you’d think. At least you don’t have to actively squish them.
Having sent so many of those little beasties to Caterpillar Heaven (or Hell), I remember what they looked like, and they didn’t look like this (the gypsy moth caterpillar) but rather like this this (the tent caterpillar).
So we come to Mystery Thing #2. It’s not a true mystery, because I had already come to a conclusion about it before I took this picture, but maybe you can tell me if I’m right or wrong. I think this is a tent caterpillar nest and I think that it is tent caterpillars who are happily chewing their way through the local forests.
Am I right?