Some trees this summer are not happy. First impression is that they’re all dead, because all the leaves are gone.
On closer inspection, it seems that some of the smaller and creepier of God’s creations are VERY happy this year: The Bird Cherry Ermine caterpillars.
Because the caterpillars make weblike nests, they can eat a whole tree bare unhindered.
When they’ve finished off one tree, they move on to the next by using the old rope trick … There were lots of these “ropes” of caterpillars hanging on to each other, swinging from the branches of the bare tree.
But they are choosy little buggers. Apparently they only eat Bird Cherry trees; nothing else is to their taste.
I pass these Bird Cherry trees on one of my usual walks. I never actually knew what kind of trees they were until just recently when they started to appear ghost-like. Now I get a creepy feeling every time. I catch myself kind of huddling as I pass - as if that would help!
Here’s a picture of Mummy (or perhaps Daddy?) Bird Cherry Ermine Moth, from the Wikipedia article. Judging from the number of caterpillars in those trees, I guess later in the summer we should have like a gazillion of these flying around…? The wingspan according to Wiki is 16-25 mm so quite small. And harmless except to this one kind of tree. Apparently though, even though all the leaves may get eaten, the tree does not actually die from the attack.
I was trying to come up with some kind of parallel to human life from all this but I fail. Some things in Nature are just Strange!
Swedish name of the tree: Hägg.