Coast neighborhood overrun by caterpillars since Isaac

BAY ST. LOUIS — The thousands of caterpillars covering yards in the Garden Isle neighborhood of Bay St. Louis make it look almost like the grass is moving. Residents worry this is just a pit stop before the insects get into their homes.

Residents in Garden Isle tell WLOX-TV since Hurricane Isaac, the whole area has been infested with caterpillars. They said they’ve never had this problem in Garden Isle before, and they want to know how to get rid of the insects.

Randy Pingel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the caterpillars would eventually go away when there is a frost, but there are some insecticides that can help speed up the process.

Whether with bleach, insecticide or the squish of shoe, Allison Rabalais said trying to kill the caterpillars that have invaded her yard seems futile.

“Somehow they managed to get in the downstairs rooms and it was just too many for us to count,” Rabalais said. “We’re talking in the thousands.

“We do know they do climb up the wood. They’re climbing up the pilings. They’re climbing up the posts the house is elevated on. So eventually they will make their way up there, and it’s not a healthy situation for anybody. We just need to find a good pest control to get rid of them and end this issue because it’s disgusting.”

The caterpillars are also making themselves at home at the Anderson house. Travis Anderson said he’d seen this type of bug before in Hattiesburg.

“They go into cherry trees, pecan trees. They go up and build a big web,” Anderson said. “They’ll eat all the leaves in the area of the web and then they disappear. They come out in the fall. This time of the year they normally do it.”

Some residents said the bug’s sting is another worry.

“They do sting. My neighbor across the street got stung by one so whether or not it’s going to leave a welt or not I’m not sure. But if you get stung by them enough it’s not going to be a pretty picture,” Rabalais said.

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