Moths and Butterflies!
Several people have asked about the numerous tussock moth caterpillars around Georgetown this fall. We are seeing a lot of American dagger moth caterpillars, as well as others. They are not as harmful as browntail and won’t destroy our trees: still, don’t pick them up. ALL HAIRY CATERPILLARS CAN CAUSE A BAD RASH. It’s their defense against birds eating them. It works.
In the good news department, since our unusually wet 2019 spring the browntail moth (another variety of tussock moth) population appears to have almost completely crashed. The few remaining caterpillars are building winter webs with very weak silk, suggesting they may not survive, either. (Their hairs in the environment can remain toxic for three years, so you may still possibly get a rash from piled wood, etc.)