Neighborhood Invaded By Caterpillars

1:02 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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MANTECA, Calif. (KXTV) -- Homeowners in a Manteca neighborhood said the invasion happened so quickly, silently and so low to the ground that they didn't see it coming until they were overrun.

"Saturday they were all in the front, in the street crossing Manteca Road and going to the orchards," said Lucy Cook of the thousands of caterpillars that took over Legacy Street last week. "They were all going in one direction."

"The whole street was just covered with them," said Rebecca English, who lives off of Fragrance Court. "And the neighbor across the street was afraid because she was driving over all of them. I said, 'don't worry, there's plenty to spare.'"

Neighbors said the caterpillars came from the fields and started breeching their fences last Friday. San Joaquin County Agriculture Center Cooperative Center director Brent Holtz said the caterpillar march is a common occurrence in warm weather. After viewing photos, Holtz believed the caterpillar to be the White Lined Sphinx Moth larvae.

"They're really squishy too, so when you try to wipe them off they just kind of explode," English said.

"[My dog] Fred won't come outside because of the caterpillars," Cook said. "He's afraid of them. I don't blame him."

Holtz said the caterpillars will only last another week or two. He doesn't recommend homeowners use chemicals to kill them, instead use a garden hose to force them off plants.

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