zone pest - pine needle catepillar management
From time to time we have had calls about different pests or insects and the Caterpillar has come up in conversation, if it looks in any way dangerous don't touch it. I remember when I was a child touching a spit fire and the pain of the tiny hairs in my finger.
bag-shelter moth caterpillar
Size: Adults 4 centimetres (a little under 2 inches).
Grey and brown hairy caterpillar with about 9 black stripes or bands around its body. Found in groups of up to several hundred on wattle trees, or sometimes eucalypts.
The head is brown. Long grey or whitish hairs protrude from body, and the prickly hairs cause dermatitis or other skin problems if humans touch them.
These caterpillars are famous for their “processions” — dozens or hundreds of them form a long line and follow the leader to a new destination.
When they are fully grown, or when they have eaten all the leaves on their host tree, they head off to find either somewhere to spend winter before pupating, or another tree to dine on.
The moths emerge in October and November, and fly in the early evenings. Like the caterpillars, adult moths can cause rashes and skin irritations.
Congregational. Always found in very large groups. They stick together like a long chain of hairy bar magnets.
Here is a useful link on how to treat a sting, we advise to seek medical attention from a licenced and trained medical practitioner.
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