Subject: Centipede? In SoCal
Location: southern california
March 23, 2016 5:58 pm
Hi! my wife and I just got a new puppy, and as we were taking him out to the restroom he saw the attached bugs in our tree. we have noticed them dead on our front porch and crawling on our fence as well. Theres ~100 in the tree. We just need it identified to see if its poisonous and how to rid them of our yard so our pup doesn’t have the opportunity to eat them! Its spring, in southern california, been hot the past week.
Signature: kg

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear kg,
While we do have Centipedes in southern California, your images depict Mourning Cloak Caterpillars, and though they may deliver a slight sting if carelessly handled, they are harmless.  There is no need to eradicate them from your tree.  They may climb to the eaves of your home in groups to form chrysalides.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars will eventually metamorphose into lovely adult Mourning Cloak butterflies.  Some years, when conditions are favorable, the Mourning Cloak Caterpillars can be quite numerous.  Their local native host is willow, but they have adapted to feeding on the leaves of Chinese elm in California.

Mourning Cloak Caterpillars

Mourning Cloak Caterpillars

Location: southern California

3 Responses to Mourning Cloak Caterpillars

  1. Marietta Roby says:

    Here in Central Oregon, these live in our hybrid poplar trees. We have lots of lovely Mourning Cloak butterflies.

  2. Samantha says:

    We have a willow tree in the front our home and recently found 100 caterpillars on our home. Later in the week we found at least 20 nests in the tree with hundreds of baby black worms. I am so close to calling an exterminator because I’m so concerned about all of them crawling on my house. I’m quite anxious about all this. Please afvise

    • bugman says:

      Mourning Cloak Caterpillars may use your eaves to metamorphose into the Chrysalis stage, but they will not harm your home.

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