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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 29, 2012, 10:13 PM

Quick action needed to prevent spread of Forest Tent Caterpillars

Minnesota (WDAY TV) - It's enough to make people scared of insects squirm. In Lakes Country groups of Forest Tent Caterpillars are starting to take over some trees.

It's enough to make people scared of insects squirm. In Lakes Country groups of Forest Tent Caterpillars are starting to take over some trees. There are some things you can do to prevent them from spreading, but you'll have to do it quickly.

Manager Dean Miller's heard rumors around the American Legion Campground. Forest Tent Caterpillars are starting to show up. So far, he hasn't dealt with damage.

Dean Miller – American Legion Campground Manager: "The most destruction is they're on the side of the road getting smashed by the car tires that drive by."

All that could change in a few weeks. Entomologists say these small pests can create a big mess.

Janet Knodel – NDSU Entomologist: "When they're in really high numbers they can cause defoliation to the trees that can weaken the immune system and make the tree susceptible to disease."

There are not a lot of caterpillars like this one around town, but in rural areas near lakes they're quite a nuisance.

Janet Knodel: "They can defecate everywhere, and it gets so loud, sounds like it's raining."

To stop the spread of these caterpillars you'll have to hurry. There are pesticides, and a bacteria called BT you can pick up that will take care of your problem quickly.

Janet Knodel: "It has to ingest it and the bacteria causes the gut to essentially rupture and it will kill the

Back at the campground, Miller's seen worse. They pop up every 2-4 years.

Dean Miller: "Oh yes, yes, sometimes it's been really bad. It's like a wall of worms covering the side of the tent."

With caterpillars crawling tarps and trees few and far between right now, Miller says he won't bug out just yet.

Dean Miller: "It's not that big of a problem, it's like the mosquito or the May fly, it's like bug of the month club around here."

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