DNR: Next Year Could be Bad Forest Tent Caterpillar Outbreak

Updated: 01/13/2014 6:46 PM KSTP.com By: Jessica Miles

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says next year will likely be a bad one for a native insect that does damage to our trees.

The forest tent caterpillar is a small, hairy insect. They emerge in late spring, and start eating, and they don't stop.

Last year the caterpillars ate about a million acres of forest in north central Minnesota from Detroit Lake east through Walker and Grand Rapids over toward Duluth. More than four times what they ate the year prior.

Research shows the caterpillars spike every 10-15 years, and we are gearing up for another peak probably next summer.

"It will look like fall, except it's not," says Val Cervenka with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"The really ugly part is when you are walking in the woods, their excrement is raining down from above on you, your sandwiches."

Cervenka says if you're planning a large outdoor event up north next year, you might want to do it before the caterpillars come out in mid-June, or wait until the leaves have a chance to leaf out again in mid-July.

If you'd like to learn more about the impact of the tent caterpillar on Minnesota forests, we posted a link to the DNR website.

Click here to find photos to help you identify the bugs during their life cycle along with advice on managing the outbreaks.