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Tent caterpillars infesting Vancouver Island

Huge masses of tent caterpillars are being seen among trees and hedges across Vancouver Island.

The native species has large population booms in cycles of about five to seven years, according to the City of Nanaimo.

"This year is looking like an infestation year," said the city in a social media post earlier this month.

Arborist Trevor Coey, with Bartlett Tree Experts, says he's been getting lots of calls about caterpillar infestations ever since the weather started heating up on Vancouver Island.

"There are treatment options out there that are accepted and used under the pesticide bylaw in [many] municipalities," said Coey.

"For a homeowner, a lot of people just choose to prune them out," he said.

"I never recommend burning the nests, especially with how dry it is."

If you have a tree that's been hit particularly hard by tent caterpillars, you can also try giving it extra water, fertilizer, or mulch.

Nanaimo says it generally does not take action during tent caterpillar season, since they are a native species.

However the city says it does intervene and may treat a "nuisance location" if they are impacting a space like a park bench, or if they are damaging a crop or fruit tree. Top Stories


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