Mothly Harmful

Coming back from fetching the paper this morning, I was stopped in my tracks by a tree that still seemed to be stuck in the middle of winter

Every leaf had been eaten down to the stalk, and the whole tree webbed in caterpillar silk. Intensive googling* suggests that the culprit was the bird cherry ermine caterpillar (we got the adult version in the house when we inadvertently turned our bathroom into a big light trap).


I had nonchalantly leaned my bike near the tree while I was taking the pictures. Fortunately, I didn’t leave it there too long …

ermine moth larva on a Swedish Army Bike

Ermine Moth Larva on a Swedish Army bike – via Wikimedia

* mostly these days I just ask twitter, but clearly twitter was in a bit of a silly mood this afternoon; the only answers I got were ‘goblins’, ‘really big spiders’, and ‘fairies’ from someone who has clearly been living in Bristol far too long.

3 Responses to Mothly Harmful

  1. Bob says:

    We have similar wee beasties over here, but I’ve only ever heard of them referred to as “Tent Caterpillars”, mostly because we never concerned ourselves with whatever they grew into. Best to cut them out and burn them, which was our usual course of action. They certainly can do a lot of damage.

  2. disgruntled says:

    It was just a hedgerow tree, so I expect it will be left to its own devices. It will be interesting to see how/if it recovers

  3. […] ‘ghost trees’ that had been completely stripped of its leaves by the attentions of the ermine moth caterpillars last month. It’s nice to see that it can recover, although I expect it’s had better […]

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