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No one ever suspects the butterfly (larvae).
August 4, 2006 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Parts of Sweden are overrun by caterpillars. Interesting photos of a caterpillar swarm, with pictures of trees, buildings and bicycles completely cocooned-over with visually stunning (if icky) results. Swarms aren't that unusual, but the term is more habitually used with flying insects like bees and locusts. Soon enough humans might be joining in the fun too, albeit via surrogates.
posted by clevershark (45 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap!!! THat first link was the most amazing & disturbing thing I've seen in ages. GREAT post.
posted by jonson at 10:32 AM on August 4, 2006




Great post. May I humbly suggest that you give a credit to jiroczech, if that's how you found the link (which I assume given that you commented in that thread)? If you found it elsewhere, please disregard. Thanks.
posted by brain_drain at 10:44 AM on August 4, 2006


Is that a gypsy moth infestation? The cocoons look similar to what we got in New England in my youth, but I don't recall the piles of disgusting maggoty worms!
posted by Justinian at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2006


Oops, via boingboing. I hadn't seen jiroczech's comment before.
posted by clevershark at 10:51 AM on August 4, 2006


I demand the use of the Bukkake tag.
posted by qvantamon at 10:54 AM on August 4, 2006


I am now, permanently emotionally scarred.
posted by Freen at 11:02 AM on August 4, 2006


If you have access to a lot of gypsie moth caterpillars, here is something cool to do: build a small framework and have them cover it in webs. I've made small towers out of bamboo skewers and string using a hot-glue gun and sometimes have gotten amazing results.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:09 AM on August 4, 2006


Are they on me? I feel like they're on me.
posted by chrismear at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2006


I'm never going to sleep again, lest I wake up covered in a white shroud of caterpillar goo.
posted by brina at 11:14 AM on August 4, 2006


Late in the picture series, they have some closeups of the caterpillars... they're really quite pretty. Much less icky if you look at them closely.

I burst out laughing when I saw the bike.... oh my god. Can you imagine coming outside to that?
posted by Malor at 11:18 AM on August 4, 2006


beautifully creepy.
I need to register "bugkakke" for times like this.
posted by boo_radley at 11:19 AM on August 4, 2006


How long did that take? Wow.
posted by GuyZero at 11:28 AM on August 4, 2006


Is that a gypsy moth infestation? The cocoons look similar to what we got in New England in my youth

Ditto. I was about ten years old and they gave me nightmares.
posted by Slothrup at 11:32 AM on August 4, 2006


That's. A. Lot. Of. Caterpillars.
posted by Zinger at 11:37 AM on August 4, 2006


We had these in Pennsylvania once. They weren't the usual gypsy moths--I think the correct term is Romany Moths, or Itinerant-Persons Moth--those larva hang out in a little tent, then defoliate your trees. The swarmy ones grew to about two inches long, were black, and hung freely out of the trees. If you walked through the woods, you'd be covered in sticky thread and caterpillars. They ate all the leaves off the trees for about three summers, then Fish & Game released some kind of botfly or wasp to control their population. Then there was all the fucking wasps buzzing around...
posted by eegphalanges at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2006


Where are the birds? Shouldn't they be having a feast out there?

I suspect that quite the reverse has happened; that they overwhelmed the birds, covered the nests and are feasting on the young.

Speaking of which... why are all those bikes are there? Wouldn't children normally be riding them?


...

My god.
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to make sure.

...my scalp is crawling right now.
posted by jokeefe at 11:38 AM on August 4, 2006


Flogsta is a student ghetto. The larvae obviously seek swedish knowledge. I, for one, welcome our new socialist caterpillar overlords.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:43 AM on August 4, 2006


Ghost bikes!
posted by ColdChef at 11:54 AM on August 4, 2006


That's amazing! How many of these larvae will survive to become moths?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:02 PM on August 4, 2006


So creepy-cool. Plus (thanks to the second link), I have a handy mnemonic for the rate at which bee-swarm value diminishes over time:

A swarm in May - is worth a load of hay.
A swarm in June - is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July - isn't worth a fly.


Good to know!
posted by BT at 12:03 PM on August 4, 2006


Now I'm having horrible thoughts of some poor fellow, taking a nap for a few hours on a park bench, and...
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:07 PM on August 4, 2006


Man, I dismissed the page after looking at the first few pictures as I thought to myself, "That's a swarm? LAME" Then I went back to the comments and had to recheck the page. Holy Crap! I wonder what the bike will turn into after its larval stage is complete.
posted by Phantomx at 12:14 PM on August 4, 2006


Where are the birds, you ask? They should be gorging themselves on this unexpected bounty.

Oh, you would think so, Dear Reader, but no.

Our friends the world-devouring bukakke-pillars instantaneously covered the entire area with their noxious spooge, suprising the local bird population tremendously.

No, dear reader, the birds are not waiting outside the frame of these images to come feast on this smorgasbord of vermiform delight. They are already there, being devoured in their nests by the horrible and multitudinous jizz-worms of doom.

And the children, too did not escape the encroaching horror. They fled as best they could, but even they on their bicycles were too slow. Captured in the sudden eruption of milky strands, they were able to scream once before they, too were silenced.

No more shall bird-song wake the good people of Sweden, from their subarctic slumber. No more shall the joyful cries of scandavian youth fill this playground. No, dear reader, Sweden will be silent this day, and perhaps, silent for all time.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Caterpillars on a Bike.
posted by tadellin at 12:17 PM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the horrible and multitudinous jizz-worms of doom.
posted by clevershark at 12:21 PM on August 4, 2006


tadellin wins.
posted by bashos_frog at 12:23 PM on August 4, 2006


When the Gypsy Moth Menace was invading Connecticut, I kind of liked walking through the woods looking up at the cocoons. I was kind of afraid I would be cocooned, devoured, and never heard from again. Some of the cocoons really were bigger than I was.

Good times. Good times.
posted by Justinian at 12:45 PM on August 4, 2006


I've always wondered if exist a place without insects and right-wingers. I will find it, someday.
posted by darkripper at 12:46 PM on August 4, 2006


At the peak of the CT gypsy moth infestation, you could have a clear day in the woods and it would sound like it was raining.
posted by kurumi at 1:13 PM on August 4, 2006


A friend of mine is in Sweden right now, and I asked her to pick up a pair of clogs for me. I will be inspecting them very, very carefully.
posted by Biblio at 1:26 PM on August 4, 2006


You could hear the gypsy moth caterpillars munching, too, along with the rain of poop. But I don't remember them covering whole trees like that. (or bikes) After they had defoliated everything and metamorphosized, I remember a strange "second spring" in August as some of the tree grew new leaves.
posted by bendybendy at 1:46 PM on August 4, 2006


BT - thanks for the coinage - creepy-cool hit it on the head.
posted by AuntLisa at 1:50 PM on August 4, 2006


*swats no-existant caterpillars off me* AARgh! I'm in Sweden right now. Won't sleep a wink.
posted by dabitch at 1:51 PM on August 4, 2006


Those appear to be the exact same this as what we have here in Arkansas, except here, they call them bag-worms. My front yard had two trees covered with them. They are shcockingly difficult to dislodge, even with relatively high pressure water hoses.
posted by hatchetjack at 2:18 PM on August 4, 2006


Is that a gypsy moth infestation? The cocoons look similar to what we got in New England in my youth, but I don't recall the piles of disgusting maggoty worms!
posted by Justinian at 1:45 PM EST on August 4 [+] [!]


My thoughts exactly. I went to this dilapidated camp in Mass. that was overrun by the moths, rendering nearly every activity impossible, besides, of course, slaughtering the bugs. That did get old once you lost count, as no matter your herculean your effort, their numbers didn't wane.

they didn't spooge everywhere, at least.
posted by Busithoth at 2:44 PM on August 4, 2006


How strange...

everybody freakin' out, and I see...a picture of a tree. OK, a tree without leaves. But the link goes to 1 jpeg.

I guess I don't get it.

Hmm.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:37 PM on August 4, 2006


dash_slot:

Bike. Up-close and personal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2006


But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

--- Poe
posted by SPrintF at 6:36 PM on August 4, 2006


Dear God!

The Humanity!

I remember hearing about the Gypsy Infestation in CT, but I think I was too young to have witnessed it (or remember witnessing it).

For those of you undersiege, here is a handy reference about the Gypsy Moth:
http://lucas.osu.edu/gm/compare.htm

And their history:
http://www.ent.msu.edu/gypsyed/docs/history.html
posted by mrzarquon at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2006


a large group of caterpillars are called an army of caterpillars
posted by es_de_bah at 8:14 PM on August 4, 2006


First, they took Sweden's bikes, and I said nothing, because I was not a bike...
posted by Football Bat at 8:57 AM on August 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is a very creepy caterpillar version of Kingdom of the Spiders (shudders)

And I thought the cicadas three years ago was terrible...
posted by moonshine at 6:23 AM on August 6, 2006


This is a very creepy caterpillar version of Kingdom of the Spiders (shudders)

Oh my god, William Shatner vs Killer Spiders? Whoever wins, we lose.
posted by darkripper at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2006


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