When Tent Caterpillars Take Over

5-16-08

The focus of this blog was supposed to be about our home and the remodeling we do to it but I’m starting to realize it’s hard to filter everything out. Case and point was this weekend we went to sight in our guns at the range. Why do we have to sight in guns do you ask? Well, because we’re competitive highpowered rifle shooters. What does this have to do with home improvements? At the range we saw exactly what can happen when you let tent caterpillars take over.

It was shocking and sad all at the same time. Our home range is one of the best in the country. The club owns over 360 acres much of it untouched. Buffer zones are the key to keeping ranges alive otherwise people will knowingly build houses next to the range and complain about the noise. And even though the range was there first the range will eventually get shut down. This has happened to hundreds of ranges in our area and now only a few good ranges are left.

Anyway, the road to the range is a small gravel road that has two houses set back in the woods on one side and farmland on the other side. As we were driving down the road we noticed the huge tents of caterpillars everywhere. It was unlike anything I’ve ever saw before. Some of the tents were as big as my head! The tent caterpillars had gotten out of control and had spread to the neighbors, the trees on the edge of the farmland across the street, and onto the range. It looks like the caterpillars hadn’t quite made it to all of the land the club owns, but they had a good hold on the first couple acres.

I can’t even imagine what it would take to get rid of them at this point. We would have to cut down hundreds of trees and burn them, which is almost impossible because we only have a few drivable trails through the woods. So I guess there isn’t much we can do but to let them spread to the rest of the property. If only that neighbor had taken care of the situation when it started on their property we wouldn’t be in this mess. How could they let this get that out of control? Fortunately, with the sandy soil the range has about half of the trees on the range are pine trees that the tent caterpillars won’t touch.

I wasn’t able to get pictures of the really infested areas but here are a couple pictures from the range:

 

 

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This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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