Are you being inundated by furry caterpillars and fuzzy white cocoons? You’re not alone! The tussock caterpillars are out in force and they can be quite a nuisance for folks living under or around heavy tree cover. They come in a few different colors but all typically have red heads, two furry projections on their heads, one on the rear, and four dense tufts of hair called tussocks on their backs. Eventually, these furry guys turn into moths but not before they wrap themselves in white cottony cocoons EVERYWHERE! Thankfully, they do not sting but their hairs can be quite irritating to the skin. The effect is similar to what you experience from fiberglass. The cocoons can be pulled off with tweezers and the adults can be swept into buckets of water and dish soap. If they are heavily defoliating desirable shrubs, you can also use an all natural insecticide called Bt (Bacillius thuringiensis) that will kill them typically in a matter of days. For more information, click here, or call your local Marion County Extension Service at 352-671-8400.
Tussock Moth Caterpillars