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Caterpillars create creepy canopy in Lewiston

Posted at 1:11 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 13:29:02-04

If you've driven past Military and Upper Mountain Roads in the Town of Lewiston, you may have noticed some trees covered in giant webs.

So what kind of insect is transforming the bushes into props from a Halloween haunted house? The answer is Euonymus Caterpillars.

They're creepy, they're crawly, and their webs are off-putting, put it turns out, these caterpillars are relatively harmless.

According to horticulturist John Farfaglia from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, these caterpillars only target the type of plants they are named after -- euonymus plants. That means they do not present the same type of threat as other pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and homeowners do not need to take measures like spraying to get rid of them.

Farfaglia said the caterpillars build the webs every year, but they are larger and more noticeable this year because of the mild winter.

Farfaglia said the infestation is usually short-lived. Once the caterpillars have finished their webbing, they go dormant for a short while before they emerge as moths.  The caterpillars will strip the plant of all of its leaves, but the leaves do typically grow back before the end of the season.