Pruning back the bough of a silverberry bush to make room to get by, I noticed that the part I’d cut off was covered with tiny black caterpillars embedded in a sort of orange fur.
Half an hour of research on the internet later, I concluded they’re the offspring of the Gypsy Moth, an extremely prolific and dangerous pest.
I learnt that they were introduced into the US by accident, when an entrepreneur who’d hoped to interbreed them with silk worms left some caterpillars on a windowsill and they blew away.
Trees can be stripped of their leaves – starting from the top where it’s less noticeable – and entire forests decimated by them.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, gypsy moth caterpillars have poisonous hairs that can cause skin rashes.
I’ll be keeping my eye out for more of these vicious little things!