East Cooper residents are noticing these colorful caterpillars around their homes this spring. The white-marked tussock moth caterpillar is beautiful to look at but please don’t touch. The hairs or bristles on this caterpillar do not contain venom but can cause hives, skin irritations, or rashes on people who may have an adverse reaction or are sensitive to the hairs.

These guys will feed on rose bushes, apple trees, maples, elms, pear, poplars, oaks, sycamore, walnut, and willow trees. If large populations are found on a tree, they can sometimes eat the leaves off the entire tree. This may cause the tree to be stressed or even die. The caterpillars can be controlled with topical or systematic insecticides. Some homeowners have had success simply removing those branches where large numbers of caterpillars are seen. You may want to consult an arborist in severe damage situations.

If you need help or advice with caterpillars, feel free to give us a call.