Jul 142017
 

In the spring of 1940 the countryside around Invermay, Saskatchewan, had an historic Forest Tent Caterpillar infestation.  I was 11 years old and have very clear memories of that time.  By the end of May the leaves in all the trees, almost all white poplar (aspen), and all bushes had been eaten.  It looked like fall.  Two memories stand out.  On the way to town with my dad, we saw telephone poles black with caterpillars.  I remember there were so many on the train tracks that the huge steam engine had to use sand normally used in the winter, when the tracks were icy because the drive wheels were slipping on the caterpillars.

One of my chores was to ride horseback to find the milk cows to bring them in the night milking.  It was raining and when I got home my mother put me in the washtub to wash the caterpillars out of my hair, and all my clothes were put into the washing hamper.

In June the trees and bushes all budded and put out new leaves, and we had spring all over again.  I don’t know what happened in 1941 because we sold the farm and moved to Ontario.

Keith McKerracher

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation of aspens – Government of Manitoba

Forest Tent Caterpillar (separated “snowmen” down the back) – Wikimedia

Jun 242017
 

The tent caterpillar activity is quite evident in the Millbrook area this year, but at our summer home near Bon Echo Provincial Park, the damage done by Forest Tent Caterpillars is devastating. In many areas up to 80% of the canopy on elms and maples has been devoured.

Ralph & Elaine Cole, Millbrook

Forest Tent Caterpillar (separated “snowmen” down the back) – Wikimedia

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation of aspens – Government of Manitoba

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation (photo: State University of New York – Cortland)