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Beauty is The Beast

Karl Foord - Extension Educator, Horticulture

DSC_0012 forest tent caterpillars jeff hahn shopped and sized


When I first saw this image I thought I was looking at a beautiful tapestry.

However, given the fact that Jeff Hahn was showing me a collection of pictures of insects he had assembled for a slide show presentation at the Minnesota State Fair, I had to rethink that initial impression. On closer examination one can see the head and hairs of a caterpillar. Nonetheless, what beautiful colors and such an intriguing pattern. So much for the beauty.

The only problem is that when this caterpillar has reached the large numbers characteristic of its cyclic pattern of life, it can defoliate many trees. Thus the beast.

Jeff has a video describing more aspects of the caterpillar that will be aired as part of a virtual conference sponsored by the Minnesota Turf & Grounds Foundation. We will provide a link to this presentation in the next issue of the Y&G News.

Jeff Hahn

Photo 1: Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria

Laura Maskell -

Photo 2: Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria

Laura Maskell -

Photo 3: Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria

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