Last week The Pony and I marveled at the beauty of a flowering tree just outside the end door of Newmentia. Okay. I marveled at it. The Pony said, I believe, "Uh huh," as he tromped by loaded down like a pack mule. We walk out that way every day, and now that spring has sprung, April is bustin' out all over. This tree has some gorgeous pinky-white blooms all over it. Thick with them. Gorgeous. Until today.
Here is the sight that greeted us upon exit:
Yes. We have no pinky-white bloomy flowers. But that's not the shocking part. Did you notice, perhaps, the webby pod-looking bundles in the forks of the limbs? EEEEK! Something's gonna hatch there! But you don't yet realize the horror. I do. I will have nightmares tonight. Not like the ones last night, where I was grocery shopping with my little black bear cub, and some well-meaning busybody asked if I wanted help putting him on the rack at the bottom of my cart while I was checking out. No, thank you. My little black bear cub is free to roam the aisles as he chooses. It's free grocery store, you know. So mind your own business.
My research, assisted by my BFF Google, led me to common pests in Missouri, and the certain knowledge that the earliest intruder to assault the trees is the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. Uh huh. Guess what's inside those webby pod-looking bundles. Not spiders. Great big gobs of squirmy wormy caterpillars!
Yeah. I heard you scream. They come out and eat the new leaves, then retreat to their webs. Later in the summer, they will turn into moths and breed more of themselves.