Some communities north of Edmonton are dealing with a creepy-crawly problem.
They’ve found themselves to be infested with tent caterpillars, hundreds — sometimes thousands — found on the sides of houses, on decks and trees.
Tina Burback is the manager of Greenland Garden Centre. She said the critters go through a seven- to 10-year cycle with their populations.
But the good news is they’re not a threat to vegetation.
“They rarely will do damage on an incredible scale,” Burback said.
“Any forestry expert would tell you that this is not something that we need to worry about, and that our forests are actually designed to handle these big cycles that come in. Even if you see a lot of defoliation those trees will bounce back, they will leaf out next spring.”
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Burback suggests the best way to get rid of the caterpillars is by mechanical methods like a rake, hose or pressure washer.
But if you do want to kill the bugs, she urges against using chemicals.
“When we’re using the chemicals, we have to remember that everything that’s sprayed on those tent caterpillars, if… they (the caterpillars) are dead and laying there, then the birds will definitely come in to pick them up and feed on them.
Instead of using chemicals, Burback said there is a natural product called BTK (The “kurstaki” variety of bacillus thuringiensis) is specifically designed to kill caterpillars. According to the B.C. government, it has no “known toxic effects on humans, other mammals, plants, birds, fish, honeybees or other beneficial insects.”
– With files from Global News’ Vinesh Pratap