We are in the midst of what feels like a life-and-death struggle to survive an alien invasion. Today marks the ninth day of the siege. It feels longer.

Anyone who has ever been seriously ill, or recuperating from major surgery, knows the feeling. The early worst agony passes. You’re too sick to do anything much, but well enough to be fed up with being sick. Bored by pain, weary of being off your feet. The sound of your own complaining is aggravating. You feel like “this movie needs a good editing!” except it’s real life and doesn’t work that way.


The day is beautiful, the sky brilliant blue. It’s gorgeous as a backdrop for the bare limbs of tall oaks. I’ve gotten (almost) used to the look of naked trees in June. The catalpa and sassafras have leaves because they are least favorite trees for the caterpillars. The forsythia are safe for the same reason, at least for now. The hairy caterpillars have not yet eaten all the maples. No doubt they’ll get to them. Soon.

Life’s a struggle. We struggle to be born. We struggle to grow up, to make a life, a difference. To find meaning. Struggling to survive an alien caterpillar invasion was never on my list of likely scenarios. Call me crazy, but of all the things I imagined might one day happen to me, this never even made the bottom of the list. Insect invasions were the stuff of John Steinbeck novels and Egyptian plagues.

People have commented that they could never cope with this. That’s pretty much what I would have said had this been happening to someone else and me merely reading about it.


So I’m here to tell you that when you have no choice, you cope. You manage. What else can you do? Lay on the floor and try to die? Go live somewhere else? Where? Maybe if you’re young enough with still living parents, you can go back to mom for a while … but at our age, we are where the kids come when all else fails.

Whatever struggle is involved, we deal with it to the best of our ability. That’s life for you. As I gaze out my picture window I see the swaying naked oak trees, the remaining leafy branches of catalpa and sassafras trees. I see a robin chowing down on caterpillars. It’s a banquet year for local birds who eat the caterpillars. I expect to see fat robins and juncos. It’s their movable (moving) feast.

I also see caterpillars creeping up the glass and along the sills. If I look up, the eaves are covered with them. As is the foundation of the house and the driveway, the deck, and lawn furniture.

The sprayers are coming, the sprayers are coming. Today! Not sure exactly when. Might not be until late, but days are long this time of year.

One of these weeks, these millions of caterpillars will become millions of moths. Who will lay mega-millions of eggs. Something to which we can all look forward, eh?

Categories: Art and special effects, Nature, New England, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

33 replies

  1. Horrible and bizarre, all at the same time. 😦


  2. I just heard that there is a moth infestation in UK too. Diamond back moths. Not so much the larvae but the adults but I expect the larvae come next.


  3. glad to hear they can spray- what a nightmare- but it’s real!!


  4. Good luck with the spray guys. I suppose you must feel like you are in the bible – an invasion of insects to teach man a lesson not to mess with nature


  5. Nine days, OMG that is enough to go off the deep end. Hope those Spray Guys get there soon.


  6. It’s like a storyline out of “Alien” or something. Yurgh.
    What did you do to Garry’s picture to get that cool effect?


  7. the only downside of this, is that the birds who eat the live insects will probably eat the dying ones as well, after they’ve been sprayed. It could kill them too. In a way its like the chemlawn people who spray your neighbor’s yard–and while you have asked them not to do yours–some of it drifts over the fence, and your bees and birds die too.
    It’s a hard choice, or it would be to me.

    We had a mouse invasion last winter. The Dcon I wanted to put down said it was lethal not only to mice, but also to pets, birds, and the food chain itself. Whatever ate the mouse whether it was alive or dead, after it had ingested the dcon, would also suffer the same kind of internal bleeding. The mouse that wandered outside to die would then enter the food chain when a snake or owl or hawk ate it. and the snake or owl or hawk would die, probably, from the same thing. I took the Dcon back to the store and let the cats clean out what mice they could, and sealed up the ancient holes in the closets.

    I guess its about choices. I’d hate to see one evil wiped out by another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They have sworn this stuff will NOT KILL ANYTHING BUT CRAWLING INSECTS. Not birds, not bees, not even mosquitoes. I was very very specific about it and this is a very organic areas. Hardly anyone sprays for anything … which may be exactly why we’ve been hit so hard. The areas that spray for mosquitoes have not had this kind of overwhelming infestation. Oh how I curse the man who released these into our world. They don’t belong here …

      Liked by 2 people

      • I always hope they mean what they say, too.

        I do know that if they get too bad the caterpillars actually have a natural enemy, a kind of virus that wipes them out in huge numbers. It’s what saved us around here the last time. And frankly I dont recall seeing the gypsy moths in nearly the quantities that the caterpillars suggested they might have. Also, when the caterpillars run out of food they die very quickly. Cold comfort that might be, but…\

        It’s a mess, and I do commiserate. If they were just caterpillars, we could deal with that. But they are toxic to humans as well as dogs, and that makes it horrendous.


        • Garry would agree with that. He’s still got welts from four days ago, so when he goes out, it’s long sleeves and a tight buttoned collar, long pants, socks, hard shoes. The dogs are all snuffling and periodiclly barfing, and I figure they’ve been eating a few of those nasty caterpillars. I know this will end, but it can’t be soon enough for me. We are a very heavily treed area, so they won’t run out of food so quickly. They have run out of oak, though and are eating through the maple now. My japanese maple looks so pathetic.


  8. Honestly–I don’t know how you do this. I thought about you last night as I looked out my front door and saw UPS had dropped off a package (why don’t they knock anymore?). I pictured it being covered by those caterpillars….gives me the creeps.


  9. when nature is out of balance, when the seed no longer produces the fruit, when the gardener has weeds to deal with, usually the entire view changes, maybe it’s time we gave mother nature a break!, amen


  10. What more can I say – perhaps there is a bird that only eats moths?


  11. Nice job, Probie! It’s like the piper has returned to collect on all those debts. And, I’ve got a lousy cold or bad case of allergies to TRUMP the whole bloody mess.
    Here’s to Flag Day!!


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