Now it's caterpillar outbreaks caused by global warming

I recall one summer when I was a boy in the 1960’s where we had a tent caterpillar outbreak in our town. Global Warming wasn’t on anybody’s mind then. This story is from the Independent in the UK.

Yes I realize the photo I chose is absurd, but so is the article. No photo came with the article, so I provided one. - A

Caterpillar plague on Isle of Wight was caused by climate change, says expert

By Ben Mitchell

Saturday, 15 May 2010   Global warming was blamed yesterday for an increase in caterpillar infestations which can cause severe allergic reactions.

In the latest outbreak, residents of a street in Newport, Isle of Wight, were forced to stay indoors or wear protective body-suits and face-masks to avoid coming into contact with tiny hairs shed by the brown-tail moth caterpillars.   The insects have set up home in an isolated and overgrown plot next to gardens in the street.   Steve Gardner, who has been dealing with the infestation in West Street, said: “In general, these insects are getting worse in this country because the climate is changing and the summers are getting warmer.

Normally, these insects settle in fields where they do not do anyone any harm but if they are close to houses they travel from garden to garden causing problems. As the caterpillar grows it sheds its skin and the tiny hairs float in the air and can cause a severe skin reaction.”

The insect, which has a dotted white line down each side and two very distinctive red dots on the back of its tail, emerges from its nest as the weather gets warmer in May and June.

The easiest time to get rid of them is during winter when their tent-like nests are visible. Mr Gardner said he would return in the autumn to remove the nests. Residents have been told to use calamine lotion or contact a doctor that if a rash develops.

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Gordon Ford
May 14, 2010 8:17 pm

How come we had tent catipiller infestations when we had catastrophic global cooling?

Evan Jones
May 14, 2010 8:19 pm

That presupposes the last few summers have been warmer on the Isle of Wight. That would certainly not be typical of recent English summers.

May 14, 2010 8:21 pm

Stephen Brown says:
May 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm
I’m in Selsey, West Sussex which is well known for its balmy micro-climate as it is sheltered by the Isle of Wight from any Atlantic sourced stormy blasts. This morning (12 May 2010) we had a very hard frost, sufficiently cold to precipitate out the waxes in the ultra-poor but very expensive diesel sold by our local fuel stations. My Mercedes and my Renault (both diesel) would not start this morning. My petrol powered Vauxhall fired up without any problems. At about 1:00pm, both diesel cars started without any problems, once the ambient temperature had risen.
My vegetable garden is in ruins. Even the potato plants have been savaged by the cold.
I wonder what warming the Zealots are actually talking about?

Steve Keohane
May 14, 2010 8:26 pm

The impact CAGW on our entomological friends becoming pandemic. I have noticed a robust dearth of ticks for the past two seasons. Last year saw five or less, this year none so far, in spite of days felling trees and clearing brush. Typical season, a couple of dozen. There must be government grant money to investigate the peril of warming to ticks. </satire

George Turner
May 14, 2010 8:28 pm

Tent caterpillar infestions are directly related to being lax about tearing down their tents. I always liked using kerosene on them, but I’m sure there are saner methods.
Next up will be rat infestations caused by global warming, not the yearly Paris garbage worker strike.

Leon Brozyna
May 14, 2010 8:33 pm

There you have it — global warming causes everything.
Having created the fantasy bugaboo of global warming, everytime there’s something unusual and/or out of the ordinary happening in the environment, every third-rate scientist/environmentalist wannabe can pin it on the bugaboo and get taken seriously. It takes no effort or thought.

Jimmy haigh
May 14, 2010 8:33 pm

In Scotland we had a lovely summer in 1983 but we also had a plague of greenfly. The nest summer in 1984 was also a very good one but this time we had a plague of ladybirds – which gorged themselves on the greenfly.
Little did I know then that this was a sign of the global warming which was to come. Oh for those balmy days of innocence!

David L. Hagen
May 14, 2010 8:37 pm

Termites. Global emissions of methane due to termites are estimated to be between 2 and 22 Tg per year, making them the second largest natural source of methane emissions. Methane is produced in termites as part of their normal digestive process, and the amount generated varies among different species. Ultimately, emissions from termites depend largely on the population of these insects, which can also vary significantly among different regions of the world.

Natural Sources – Global Emissions EPA
Shouldn’t they study how much global warming is produced by albedo changes caused by eating leaves, and by the methane generated by caterpillars?

May 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Likely everybody has tent caterpiller stories, here’s mine; in the summer of 1977 in northern Wisconsin the caterpillers came through and the woods were stripped like it was winter. They move in a vector from where the leaves were all stripped to more leaves. I worked for a railroad and the the train I ran stalled when the locomotive drivers slipped on all those caterpillers near Iron River. They kept crawling until they came to the rail and then they crawled over each other until they piled up high enough to top the rail. That was when the covering of caterpillers caused the locomotive with sanders on to slip down and stall. I had to back up and run again to make it over the grade. The rail was polished and shiney on the side in the direction that the caterpillars came from. The tons of rotting insect flesh stank like nothing that I’ve ever smelled since. Oh, and as I recall, winters were colder back then.

May 14, 2010 8:55 pm

This reminds me of an outbreak of caterpillars on my family farm. We called them cankerworms but, looking them up, I realize they were actually armyworms. You couldn’t walk without stepping on dozens of them. Our lawn seethed with them. I remember being able to hear the rustling of thousands upon thousands of caterpillar bodies crawling all over the place. They really loved the elm tree next to our house, and it was the only time I remember my father actually buying and using pesticide spray. He saved the tree, but killed a budgie because no one realized the upstairs window was open. 🙁
This was back in the early to mid-70’s, and well into a wicked decade of cooling.

P Solar
May 14, 2010 9:14 pm

This Independent article is utter crap. The so called “expert” is Steve Gardner from West Street who is dealing with the caterpillars. It sounds like he is the town councils attendant for municipal gardening allotments.
I put this on a par with a Guardian article last year that quoted the Shrewsbury town council rat catcher [sic] attributing the increasing number of rats to climate change. The truth was more likely the fact that the council had cut the weekly refuse collection to once every two weeks.
MSM have their orders. If you can’t find a climate article per, make one up.

May 14, 2010 9:15 pm

Global warming causes everything including the mind numbing global warming thus the positive feedback is proven.

May 14, 2010 9:19 pm

David L. Hagen says:
Termites. Global emissions of methane due to termites are estimated to be between 2 and 22 Tg per year, making them the second largest natural source of methane emissions.

Simple answer: Harvest the timber before the bugs get to it.
All the lawsuits to stop salvage logging after fires are leading to bug pollution.

May 14, 2010 9:21 pm

Outbreaks of millions of soft hairy caterpillars on the Isle of Wight! Whatever will they think of next? I suppose medical research will conclusively demonstrate that global warming causes ED. Yikes – billions of soft hairy caterpillars.

May 14, 2010 9:26 pm

My question is how do the caterpillars know about golobal warming, given the world hasn’t warmed in the last 10 years. Perhaps they watch the BBC or read the New York Times. If the caterpillars can’t be measuring warming from their skin temperature, perhaps there is another reason for this “unique” occurrence. Just a thought.

May 14, 2010 9:57 pm

Jeremy says:
May 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Outbreaks of millions of soft hairy caterpillars on the Isle of Wight! Whatever will they think of next? I suppose medical research will conclusively demonstrate that global warming causes ED. Yikes – billions of soft hairy caterpillars.

Too late:

The scientists claim extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires and flooding may cause anxiety and emotional stress and an increase in post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated grief, depression, poor concentration, sleep difficulties, sexual dysfunction, social avoidance, irritability and drug and alcohol abuse.

May 14, 2010 10:13 pm

Well, jeez!
Maybe it’s high time to transport all those ‘threatened lizards’ ( to that place to take care of the bugs?

John Trigge
May 14, 2010 10:21 pm

I have noticed that there is a direct correlation between the rise of CO2 concentration and my age.
Can I get a grant to study this phenomena?

May 14, 2010 10:23 pm

It’s the “good for bad and bad for good paradigm of global warming impacts” mentioned at WCR. If something is bad for the planet, then GW is good for it. If something is good for the planet, the GW is always bad for it,

May 14, 2010 10:30 pm

We need more lizards!!!!

May 14, 2010 10:48 pm

Caterpillers thrive or dwindle from breeding season to breeding season of the parent butterlies/moths.
Two questions determine this year’s population of caterpillars: (1) how many potential new caterpillars were squirted from mummy’s nether regions last year and (2) how many of those potential new caterpillars will survive to become actual caterpillars the following year?
The number and health of butterflies and moths is determined by the same things that determine the number and health of all living creatures – food and disease. The effect of these two factors sets the size and robustness of the breeding population. And there are cycles. For years we see relatively few cabbage whites, for example, because something happened to reduce their breeding power, then they reappear and increase in numbers for a few years, then dwindle again.
When I was at school I learned that butterflies and moths have an average lifespan of between two and three weeks. Assuming that to be the case, whatever time of year they first flutter their wings they will encounter a range of temperatures during their 14-21 days and nights. It is nonsensical to suggest that a change of a few tenths of a degree in average temperatures can have any significant effect when they live through changes of many degrees every day.
I suggest those worried by caterpillars look at what they eat and ask how much of their favourite food is being grown in gardens and farms. That is the main determinant of the local population.

Wayne Richards
May 14, 2010 10:48 pm

There is a simple, effective and organic solution to tent caterpillar problems: BT, short for bacillus thuringiensis. Just spray the caterpillars’ favourite trees; the caterpillars take two bites, lose their appetites and starve to death. R.I.P.
Not quite as satisfying as kerosene, but much Greener.

May 14, 2010 10:54 pm

Try this: The (almost) complete list of things cause by global warming. Complete with links. Here are the A’s…

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, Africa devastated, Africa in conflict, African aid threatened, African summer frost, aggressive weeds, air pressure changes, airport malaria, Agulhas current, Alaska reshaped, moves, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, animals shrink, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra to burn, Arctic warming (not), Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased


May 14, 2010 11:13 pm

I see, caterpillars are created out of soil and dirt under the influence of warming (0.006 per year). We’re back to Aristotle who was saying nothing else, having undone some sins of the industrial propaganda started by the Scientific and Denier Revolution a few centuries ago. The next goal will be to undo the law of inertia. 😉

May 14, 2010 11:15 pm

This is the essence of the problem with AGW’ers, the inability to differentiate correlation and causation.
It reminds of stories that back in the Dark Ages
people used to think that piles of rags and trash caused rats.

Milwaukee Bob
May 14, 2010 11:21 pm

There once was a caterpillar outbreak,
Cause by cooling that took a very long break.
The earths climate was all in a great bake,
We skeptics couldn’t catch even one break.
But emails only an insider could make,
Showed the temp data was totally a fake.
Now it makes my meager heart truly ache,
Scientist, scientist pull out that stake!
You know for all of the money you take,
We want just truth and facts for goodness sake!
So we can bake up the world’s biggest cake,
And for AWG hold an immense wake.
Sorry, up late making sure the Queen makes it to SFO, thru Texas.
She’s on her way, so I’m off to bed.
Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are.

May 14, 2010 11:30 pm

From Wiki:
“In northern areas, the pharate larvae are highly freeze-tolerant and can withstand midwinter temperatures as low as -40 °C”
Yep, global warming.

May 14, 2010 11:32 pm

Steve Gardner said: “In general, these insects are getting worse in this country because the climate is changing and the summers are getting warmer”
The summer hasn’t even started yet! This UK winter has seen heavy snow and extended periods with cold northerly or north-easterly winds. Temperatures are still below average for the time of the year. As a result, some species do better than others. The balance between predator and prey and food supply gets altered by extreme weather. Infestations then become likely. The critters haven’t moved to the fields yet because it’s still so cold and plant growth is being held back. The only food available to them is in peoples gardens.
Third rate [non] science from a third rate [non] scientist. Nonsense nonscience.

May 14, 2010 11:34 pm

An outbreak of hairy crawling creatures on the Isle of Wight.
Not another pop music festival I suppose…..

May 14, 2010 11:47 pm

Here in Pembrokeshire, Wales, the temperature at 06:00 was +3C, yesterday was +1C.
Very few butterflies and caterpillars so far. My wife, currently doing spring planting in
the garden, complains of the bitter cold. Wind is always from the North lately.
Quite sunny though. Just looked out the window and count 17 jet contrails.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
May 15, 2010 12:05 am

Caterpillar outbreaks in the Bible were caused by man but not in the way Mr. Mitchell would think.

George Turner
May 15, 2010 12:17 am

Wayne Richards,
You said bacillus thuringiensis (I think it’s technically anthrax) will take care of the problem.
I didn’t think of that! I have lots of it in liquid solution for controlling pond mosquitos. Could I mix the solution with water and use it in a weed sprayer?
As a side note, my dad and me used to mix kerosene and gasoline in one of those pump-up weed sprayers and used it like a flame thrower to burn weeds out of the fence rows. It seemed completely safe, but then again he once burned much of his exposed skin off while playing with his carbide lamp and prematurely denotated a dynamite charge he’d just set in a coal mine, and in WW-II while playing around he launched a bazooka rocket from a watering trough and it stuck in a French farmer’s chimney – because he was at least smart enough not to arm the explosive.
So maybe I’m not the best person to be spraying neo-anthrax in the neighborhood, but I’d at least like to know if it would be effective.

May 15, 2010 12:22 am

Bacteria thuringiensis (Bt) was *made* for tent caterpillars.
Every ten years or so, New Jersey has an explosion in the gypsy moth population, and the caterpillars munch their way through a good 10% of the deciduous trees in the state, and NJ has a *lot* of deciduous forest — don’t believe all the “What Exit?” jokes. Bt, properly applied, controlled the outbreaks. In the mid-’80s, the enviroweenies screamed that Bt was killing off the Endangered Pine Barrens Tree Frog (cute little things, there are a zillion of them in the Pine Barrens, and Bt doesn’t bother them one iota), and demanded the NJDEP provide a “safe” alternative. Now, since male moths locate their lady-loves by scent, some bright light who had been educated beyond his intelligence decided that pheremones were the answer. The DEP then spent several million dollars on fifty tons of cork chips and soaked them in female gypsy moth pheremones (which we referred to as “Love Potion Number 10”) and spread them over the state, on the theory that the scent from the cork chips would either mask the scent of the female moths, or that the now-hypersexed males would attempt to mate with the cork chips.
They forgot one thing. Gypsy moths also have *eyes*, and the cork chips didn’t look anything like the gypsy moth version of Heidi Klum. The scent also attracted *female* moths to the chips and the result was the world’s biggest insect pickup zone.
Next year, there was an *early* super-infestation that chewed through 90% of NJ’s deciduous trees, and the only thing that halted it was a massive, statewide application of Bt, both from the air and from the ground.
Then the enviroweenies then screamed that
1. the NJDEP obviously hadn’t spread sufficient cork chips to distract the gypsy moths and
2. children were being exposed to “all the Bt in the atmosphere” while they were walking to and from school and were developing runny noses.

UK Sceptic
May 15, 2010 12:33 am

Lot of gardens and farmland around my neck of the woods. Ain’t seen any hairy caterpillars though. Seen a few ladybirds and the odd snail. Do they count?
Like RichardIII’s low temps in Wales, it’s been chilly but sunny in Lancashire. That north wind carries quite a nip. The blossom has been glorious this year, probably down to the trees having a nice long rest beneath all that global warming we locals call snow…

May 15, 2010 12:34 am

National Moth Night in the UK, seems appropriate somehow.

May 15, 2010 12:37 am

But, Anthony – it was an “expert” who said it was due to global warming.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 15, 2010 12:46 am

You might feel a little sorry for Steve Gardner (the man who makes the comment that summers are getting warmer). He knows not what he is talking about. There has been NO increase in summer temperatures – according to the Met Office’s data.

May 15, 2010 1:00 am

There is a companion article on the Daily Mail
Check out the body suits, and just look at the state of the garden!
But, the punchline is here:
But in recent years, thanks to Britain’s increasingly warm weather, they have begun moving north.
Last year they spread to Wiltshire, where they had never been seen before
Oh no!

Lawrie Ayres
May 15, 2010 1:05 am

My concern is that such stories are published at all. While the MSM see no problem with printing trivia or rubbish it seems incapable of publishing rebuttals.
I’m pleased to report that here in Australia more and more people are becoming sceptical of AGW in particular and alarmist science in general. There is a real chance our current AGW government will be thrown out next election. Not just for AGW/ETS but severe mismanagement of the economy and sheer waste.

May 15, 2010 1:32 am

Why is Steve Gardner of Island Pest Control considered an expert?
He does not appear to have any qualifications.

David, UK
May 15, 2010 1:33 am

Yawn. Yet another shock story from climate alarmist rag the ultra-left UK Independent, during one of the coldest UK springs on record.
“As the caterpillar grows it sheds its skin and the tiny hairs float in the air and can cause a severe skin reaction.”
Yeah. And going outside can lead to death by lightening strike. I think I’ll take the risk.
Who was it who said “We must offer up scary scenarios?” As scary goes, this is desperate stuff. I don’t even think the “journalists” (to be kind) even believe this crap anymore. The “scientists” (to be even kinder) certainly don’t, but hey; if it puts bread on the table…

Mike J
May 15, 2010 1:35 am

A pest exterminator called Gardner, who is touted in this article as an ‘expert’, is attributing the infestation in this tiny plot to AGW. The plot is so tiny I cannot find it on Google Earth. There is no “isolated and overgrown plot next to gardens in the street”. It is a heavily populated suburban street – rows of adjoining houses with long skinny back yards. So maybe our expert got that one wrong. But he is sure that he has seen an increase in such infestations over the past 5 years due to warmer summers. I can hear the grant applications being rattled up. No empirical evidence – no numbers mentioned at all. Just the gut feeling of a bug man.

Cold Englishman
May 15, 2010 1:38 am

Agree with others about current climate here in England. It has been very cold now for a long time, and now, two weeks into May, the may tres are still not in flower out here in rural Shropshire. We have had frost every morning this week, but our London based BBC weather twits, have promised a balmy weekend, with temperatures up to 16 C. But taking into account the phantom UHI effect, here in the country we shall be lucky to see 10-12C.
Plus sa change etc……..

May 15, 2010 1:48 am

From the UK Independent:
Scientists warn of overlooked decline in moth population
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
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“Some of Britain’s most beautiful moths, larger and more spectacularly coloured than many butterflies, are tumbling in numbers, sparking fears that the nation’s moth population is in serious decline.”
And of course the scientist responsible for this study says:
“He said that climate change, and the consequently wetter, warmer winters Britain was experiencing, might be implicated in the decline of the garden tiger moth.”
Cake and eat it anyone ?
I also heard a report on BBC Radio this week stating that bats, which feed on moths are also in decline. Maybe they can ship some pipestrels to the island.
Everything good is diminished by AGW while everything bad is exaggerated. No hideous and despicable creature from the depths of Hades could cause more havoc.

May 15, 2010 1:54 am

UK Sky News have been reporting for the past 2 hours that train services to France through the Channal Tunnel have been suspended due to a sensor indicating abnormal levels of CO2 – Yes that’s right! – CO2!
Suggestions please, on a postcard, as to what might have caused this rare phenomenon.

May 15, 2010 2:07 am

Lizards dying ,caterpillars thriving,I need a nice cup of tea.

May 15, 2010 2:15 am

It’s amazing what a few tenths of a degree can do to everything. I wonder what the next ice age will do.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
May 15, 2010 2:17 am

No increase in warm summers for years so blame the outbreak on media manufactured mass delusion.

Darkinbad the Brighdayler
May 15, 2010 2:36 am

I contacted the author of this article:
Brown tail moth larvae (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) ecology in the UK D CHANNON, M RAMSDEN, A TRELAWNY, WALLACE H … – International Pest Control…, 2009 –
Dr. Channon said that such outbreaks are driven not by global warming but by an abundance of food sources and an undisturbed habitat over a period of several years.
Reported “outbreaks” across the UK are sporadic and sometimes cause a local sensation as described in the article. However there is no evidence that numbers are on the rise.
He also said “Brown Tailed Moths and Oak Processionary Moth caterplillars shed urticating hairs as a defensive mechanism. Expect more press sensationalism over the course of the summer, they love a good horror story”.

May 15, 2010 2:41 am

If anyone actually KNOWS who Steve Gardner is and in what way he’s an “expert”, I might well find this useful. My recent complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Independent’s reporting of New Moore Island in the Sundarbans was rejected because Prof. Hazra was a “climate professional”, even though he was only sharing his “personal opinion”, not based on scientific evidence or study.
If Steve Gardner’s “opinion” is not “expert” in matters of climatology, I might have better luck this time.

Stephen Skinner
May 15, 2010 2:48 am

So what about the Ten Plagues of Egypt? They affected an area slightly bigger than a street in a town on the the Isle of Wight, and how long ago? How would the ancient Egyptians have responded to a plague of catterpillars in a street in Cairo and would such a story have made it into the bible?

Expat in France
May 15, 2010 3:02 am

Who ARE these “experts” who keep popping up with these ludicrous statements?
Aren’t we all getting a bit tired of this nonsense? I know I am. They must realise that their pronouncements now largely fall on deaf ears, why are they so keen to make themselves look stupid? Is there an unwritten creed amongst climate “scientists” that every perceived change in just about anything has to be caused by climate change, and inevitably it’s the fault of mankind? Climate is climate as far as I’m concerned, and all the more fascinating BECAUSE it changes, but can’t they all accept, just for once, that changes are beneficial as well, and not the precursors to Armageddon? I mean, thank goodness the earth warmed sufficiently to exit each ice age.

May 15, 2010 3:05 am

Caterpillars! What next?
Grey hair?
Bigger hangovers?
Bad breath?
Sweaty armpits?
I guess the list could be infinite.

May 15, 2010 3:22 am

Steve didn’t get the memo, that climate change causes species extinction.
Show that idiot the CET record, where the top red line is summer temperature.

ECE Georgia
May 15, 2010 3:30 am

The expert in this article totally misses the fact that we have shifted daylight savings time by 3 weeks, giving these critters an extra hour of sunlight much earlier in thier short life cycle! (smile).

Mari Warcwm
May 15, 2010 3:38 am

Global warming causes mass delusions among humans – er – or should that be the other way round?
Mass delusion among humans causes Global Warming which causes caterpillars?

A C Osborn
May 15, 2010 3:39 am

Is there a natural Predator of these Moths?
If so then harsh winters and cooler Summers will probably make them less active and that would also lead to more Moths & Caterpillars.

May 15, 2010 3:43 am

I have ladybug problems in may area.
It must be global warming.
Okay, where’s my grant money!
I’ll make sure to neglect the problem with them was worse 3 years ago.

May 15, 2010 3:45 am

“were forced to stay indoors or wear protective body-suits and face-masks to avoid coming into contact with tiny hairs shed by the brown-tail moth caterpillars”
Que?, I played with these little fellas when I was a kid

May 15, 2010 3:45 am

why don’t thay rescue the polar bears and have them eat up the caterpillars

Baa Humbug
May 15, 2010 3:57 am

This has to be a hoax right? haven’t you noticed? Caterpillars in GARDENS reported by Mr GARDNER
Next we’ll have Proff Harry Trout researching fish species, Dr James Bird on birds
Proff Peter RAMsay on sheep flatulations etc
Love the photo by the way

Geoff Sherrington
May 15, 2010 4:00 am

They are merely loitering with intent caterpillars.

Ed MacAulay
May 15, 2010 4:07 am

Someone needs to do a study to determine if the the caterpillars are growing longer denser hair coats to adapt to the present cooling conditions. The longer hairs may float further and be more widespread by the wind, thus more contact for humans.

May 15, 2010 4:15 am

OMG! Does that mean BUTTERFLIES will follow? NOOOO! WERE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

Bruce Cobb
May 15, 2010 5:23 am

At least local “expert” Steve Gardner, (henceforth to be known as “the village idiot”) prefaced his statement with “in general”, as in; in general, Alarmist psuedoscientists are morons.

May 15, 2010 5:42 am

Yesterday, I watched a few minutes of that block buster film “The Swarm”. About killer bees. Remember Killer bees? As a young child I actually had nightmares about killer bees. There. I said killer bees three times there. four if you count that last mention of killer bees. (or is that bee’s) … Turns out my killer bees nightmares were for naught. I actually had more to fear from science than killer bees. Who’d a thunk it? (or is that whod?) Man, I should start fearing spell check!
Killer bees 1. Perspicacity nil.

May 15, 2010 5:44 am

I wanna see the pix of the plague of locusts.

May 15, 2010 5:46 am

Given the photo accompanying this post, it’s no wonder they’re upset about all of the Caterpillars in their gardens, not to mention any in the trees ;o)
I think they have it backwards, though. The Caterpillars of various species (makes and models) in the photo are certainly the cause of local warming; increased UHI due to albedo changes. Can anyone muster an argument against that?

May 15, 2010 5:52 am

George Turner:
Yes, Bacillus thuringiensis works very well for mosquito control. You can even spray it from a helicopter, since the poison affects an enzyme system that does not exist in vertebrates. It is a gene from this bacterium that is used to make corn immune from corn-borers.

May 15, 2010 5:53 am

All the good species are disappearing because of global warming and all the bad ones have outbreaks. God must hate global warming.

May 15, 2010 5:55 am

“Giving it back to Ban Ki-moon
Rex Murphy, National Post
His Eminence, Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, seems like a nice guy. This week, he was in Ottawa, and apparently chastised the Canadian government, more particularly Stephen Harper, for Canada’s shameless failure to meet its carbon-reduction obligations under the Kyoto protocol.
Then again, this is what we expect Mr. Ban to do. He is, after all, the highest functionary of the world’s most useless transnational organization, and sermonizing is mainly what its Secretary-General does. But I surely hope–within the bounds of diplomatic courtesy, of course– that Mr. Harper paid no attention to him. Or rather, since an air of candour seems to have prevailed at their tete-a-tete, Mr. Harper, as it were, returned serve.
For example, did Mr. Harper press him on the matter of Climategate and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? Did he call to the Secretary-General’s attention the serial distortions, errors, non-peer-reviewed citations, the wholesale liftings from WWF and Greenpeace propaganda that made their way into the most recent IPCC report?
Little matters such as false claims on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers?
Did he bring up the serial mischiefs of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, as revealed by their leaked emails? The CRU is the very Nicene Council of the Church of Global Warming, where the high priests of dendrology meld graphs with the cardinals of atmospheric physics. What a knotty tale their intramural communications revealed — of jealousy that “their” science was being confuted and challenged by annoying outsiders; and, most of all, of attempts to keep the Holy of Holies — the process of peer review–within the closed circuit of their colleagues and admirers.
Did he take Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to task for the bristling ardency — so alien to any genuine scientific project — that now pervades the “global warming community”? Or, for the spiteful defiance of Dr. R.K. Pachauri, the UN’s IPCC chairman, toward those who reported errors in his venerated report, or to the hints of potential conflicts of interest between Mr. Pachauri’s business enterprises and his position as the voice of the “international community” on the “greatest moral issue of our time”?
For if Mr. Ban chastised Stephen Harper for Canada’s failings on Kyoto, it is but cricket for Mr. Harper to chastise Ban Ki-moon for the sloppiness, evasion and propagandistic aggressiveness of his functionaries on their most beloved file.
Did the conversation ever get round, I wonder, to our Prime Minister telling the UN’s Secretary-General that perhaps, since Kyoto, confidence in the UN’s version of the science, and in the ferocious, nay apocalyptic, projections from that science, has considerably declined? I would surely hope so.
For Canada signed Kyoto in a more innocent day, when few, or none, had either occasion or evidence to question the impartiality of those who were pushing a carbon Doomsday on the rest of us. Since that innocent day, much has changed. Advocacy has seduced science, and the loud voices of all-too-interested parties are crying up cap-and-trade schemes and “reparations” to developing countries from “climate criminals.” Western governments are being harried to vest vast sums into “alternate technologies” of little proven efficacy but of prodigiously proven cost. The West is being asked to handcuff its own growth and development, in the midst of a global recession, all under the banner of global warming.” (more)

Richard M
May 15, 2010 6:01 am

It’s pretty sad when they can’t even get their scaremongering right. Now, if this twit had said that increased CO2 causes increased food supply, he might have had something.

May 15, 2010 6:10 am

Al Gore’s Weather (AGW) : CRUed Again?
“Volcanic ash threatens to close British airspace – again”
“Britain’s Department for Transport says there is a risk that parts of British airspace could be closed beginning Sunday as the volcanic eruption in Iceland continues.
The transport ministry said possible closures could continue through Tuesday. The predictions are based on the continuing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano and curent wind and weather conditions. ”—again/article1570088/

Bill Illis
May 15, 2010 6:12 am

Humans have a strong need to explain why things are the way they are. If we can explain why things are the way they are, then we can do something about it in our favor.
In the distant past, we would say the Gods are not happy with us, the witches are casting spells; lately its been Gaia is getting back at us for our ways or global warming is causing it.
That’s why we invented Science. So we can actually figure out why things are the way they are. If we can determine the actual (versus mythical) cause of something, we have a much better chance of changing it in our favor. (Hence, bacillus thuringiensis and insecticides).
But Global Warming Science is an interesting mix between modern science and our past myth-making ways.

May 15, 2010 6:14 am

Excellent link, maz2, thanks for posting. Fun reading.

Frank K.
May 15, 2010 6:22 am

Folks, these kinds of “studies” will continue to litter the MSM as long as there are billions of dollars in climate ca$h funding these people! And, more often than not, the climate ca$h is coming from YOU the unsuspecting tax payer…
I propose that for every “scientific study” that is reported like this, we should identify the funding agency and the amount that the researchers were paid for getting the politically correct answer doing the research.

David L. Hagen
May 15, 2010 6:45 am

Correction: Easterbrook references.
Don Easterbrook’s AGU paper on potential global cooling Posted on December 29, 2008 by Anthony Watts, WUWT
New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling” Guest post by Dr. Don J. Easterbrook, Emeritus Professor at Western Washington University, November 10, 2009 WUWT
The Role of the Oceans and the Sun in Late Pleistocene and Historic Glacial and Climatic Fluctuations, Don J.,

Isotope data from Greenland ice cores and historic atmospheric and oceanic temperature records show a consistent pattern of fluctuating 25-30–year warm and cool periods over the past 500 years. During the past century, five of these climate fluctuations can be tied to glacial oscillations, oceanic temperature changes, atmospheric temperature changes, and solar variation.

See Easterbrook's Climate change publications, presentations
Pacific Decadal Oscillation

Richard North
May 15, 2010 6:49 am

There you go … these climate deniers exaggerating again … I think you will find that the “Caterpillar” to the front left of your picture is a Fordson.

May 15, 2010 7:14 am

P Gosselin: The Mayor of London’s global warming advocates are already onto the “sweaty armpits” as a result of climate change… this propaganda below is directed at children….

May 15, 2010 7:33 am

The amount of collective ignorance in some people is the scary part.
““In general, these insects are getting worse in this country because the climate is changing and the summers are getting warmer. ”
Warmer summers would have very little, if any, effect.

Henry chance
May 15, 2010 7:38 am

So the further south we go the warmer weather gives more caterpillars. Something tells us the pretend science behid these claims alwys tries to point to a single variable.

May 15, 2010 7:47 am

Posted on May 14, 2010 by Anthony Watts
I recall one summer when I was a boy in the 1960′s where we had a tent caterpillar outbreak in our town.
Me too. As kids on bikes we tried to run over them as they crawled across the roads. The critters normally were found mostly on Cherries, but in outbreaks their numbers exploded and they infested almost all trees.

Dave Worley
May 15, 2010 8:08 am

We’ve been carpet bombed by fear mongerers.
They appear to be short of ammunition, throwing rocks now.
Maybe a yawn is the best defense.

May 15, 2010 8:20 am

Why is it that psychiatrists haven’t named the phobia that causes people to think everything bad is caused by global warming/climate change???

May 15, 2010 8:31 am

It doesn’t say what qualifications Steve Gardner has which qualify him to comment on climatic cause and effect and yet the MSM pick it up and run with it. Contrast that with some of the excellent articles on here which never see the light of day. Bloody exasperating!

R. de Haan
May 15, 2010 8:36 am

I did some research because the description of the caterpillar reminded me of the
Oak Procession caterpillar (Thaumetopoea processionea)
A Dutch Wikipedia article I have translated with Babel Fish states the caterpillar caused infestations from 1820 to 1900 and suddenly disappeared.
It returned around 1990 and caused big infestations in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2007. No a word about Global Warming in this Wikipedia article.
However the English version does not provide the information in the Dutch version.
Suddenly Global Warming is the primary cause of infestations, clearly a rewrite of the original article.
Dutch Translation (Babelfish)
Distribution and prevention In Flanders the caterpillar occurs commonly, especially in the provinces Antwerp and Limburg. According to the catalogue of Lempke also in the Netherlands to roughly the line Arnhem – Nijmegen – Vianen prevented the caterpillar from 1820 up to 1900 – Dordrecht, with as observation at the tasks among other things ” big numbers” and ” many”. How the type disappeared around 1900 and around 1990 appeared is not clear. In the meantime the distribution area includes the Southern provinces Noord-Brabant and Limburg, and them is also identified in Gelderland, Overijssel, Utrecht and Noord-Holland. The caterpillar is especially identified in summer oaks alleys in cities and villages, on camp-site and domains in forest surroundings. In bunch areas themselves the caterpillar is also observed, but here seems a biological balance exist with its natural enemies (the ichneumon flies, and the large headstock bandit). Because of this the oak procession caterpillar in bunch areas hardly leads to problems. The caterpillars move themselves ‘ s night, in search of food, where they in long counterfoils each other crawling, what closes think of a procession of people. By day the caterpillars return to their nests. The caterpillars eat oak leaves, with as visible consequence leafless oak trees. Dry winters and dry, warm summer conditions stimulate the development of the caterpillar.

May 15, 2010 8:43 am

An expert is someone who learns more and more about less and less until he/she knows almost everything about almost nothing.

R. de Haan
May 15, 2010 8:44 am

Here is another article from 2007 I found:
In this article again, no mentioning of Global Warming!

May 15, 2010 9:02 am

One definition of “an expert” is ‘an individual who is more than 50 miles from home’.

May 15, 2010 9:07 am

DoctorJJ says:
May 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm
It reminds of stories that back in the Dark Ages
people used to think that piles of rags and trash caused rats.

Indeed, here are some other examples of the ‘obvious’ which failed to follow the scientific method.
Now, they’ll kill the caterpillars that turn into moths and butterflies that pollinate trees. IF, as time goes by, we see fewer trees or fruit they will blame it on ‘climate change.’ You can’t win with these people.
Is Steve Gardner a climate scientist?

May 15, 2010 9:08 am

Well, as is my wont, I figured I’d go look and see what the actual amount of the dread global warming was causing this outbreak. I couldn’t find any stations on the Isle of Wight, so I used Bournemouth instead, which is about 20 miles away. I also used the UAH MSU satellite temperature for the 2.5° gridbox containing the Isle of Wight. Here’s the result. The photo is of Portsmouth as seen from the Isle of Wight:

Yeah, that dang global warming has been bad there in the last few years …

May 15, 2010 9:21 am

“Mr Gardner said he would return in the autumn to remove the nests.”
OMG!!!! Mr. Gardner will cause the EXTINCTION of the precious brown-tail moth butterfly!!!!!…ooop, it’s not Mr. Gardner, it’s AGW!

May 15, 2010 9:25 am

Here is a photo of the isolated plot. No wonder the caterpillars felt at home. One can imagine them thriving just as well in a forest and it wouldn’t make the headlines.

May 15, 2010 10:48 am

I live close to the Isle of Wight in Southampton, about 13 miles or say 23 Km away and we had a very very cold winter and last summer was below average temps. we didnt exceed 30C as far as I’m aware whereas reocrd temps are approx 34C.
So I cant really see higher temps are causing catepillar infestations.
Global warming was supposed to have caused our Sparrows to go as well, but when I go to Spain , Portugal or Gran Canaria there are loads of the little birds

Ken Harvey
May 15, 2010 11:17 am

“Mr Gardner said he would return in the autumn to remove the nests.”
In the interim, perhaps, he will carry on with his normal ditch digging duties.

Common Sense
May 15, 2010 11:46 am

When I was a Girl Scout in the late 60s, I remember a caterpillar outbreak that summer when they were literally dripping from the trees. It was disgusting.
We also have regular infestations of miller moths, also pretty disgusting.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
May 15, 2010 11:54 am

Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
May 15, 2010 at 9:02 am
One definition of “an expert” is ‘an individual who is more than 50 miles from home
with a briefcase’

May 15, 2010 1:29 pm

Richard North: May 15, 2010 at 6:49 am
I think you will find that the “Caterpillar” to the front left of your picture is a Fordson.
A Fordson spotted among the Caterpillars? It’s worse than we thought!

May 15, 2010 1:31 pm

In 1975-1976 in SW Pennsylvania, we had a severe outbreak of gypsy moth. In 1976, after many red oak trees were killed, the Dept. of Agr. decided to spray by helicopter, using Sevin, a carbamate pesticide. Eco-moonbats protested, and delayed the process until B.T. was proposed. The science-challenged then protested until another delay. Finally, the B.T. was used, but not until many old-growth trees were eliminated. I left the region in 1993. At that point there were huge bald patches where the trees were. I don’t know if they recovered yet. It turns out that the gypsy moth has a 10 or 11 year cycle, like the locust. Probably their own high cycle numbers contain the seeds of their own population decline. So goes mother nature.

Gary Pearse
May 15, 2010 1:52 pm

With a warming of 1C in a century or so, it would seem that a place in France or Germany that is 1C warmer than the Isle of Wight would have been taken over by the hairy little fellows by now. Surely we can look at conditions in more southerly but not too distant places with similar flora and fauna and observe what will happen further north when it heats up 1 deg. What is the range of this moth? But, hey, I’m only a geologist and engineer, how could I know better than an entymologist.

James P
May 15, 2010 3:06 pm

Well, I don’t know where Mr Gardner lives, but either it isn’t the Isle of Wight, or he’s oblivious to his surroundings. I do live there (I even had a house in West Street at one time) and we have not only had two lousy summers, but this winter has been the coldest for a generation, and it hasn’t warmed up properly even yet. We had a frost three nights ago and the mean temperature for this month is lower than the mean for the whole of April. Figures from the local weather station in Newport here:

Jim F
May 15, 2010 3:17 pm

“Every summer we can rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight
if it’s still there
We shall stomp and spray
Caterpillars on your knees
Man this is depraved”
Sung to the tune of “When I’m 64” with abject apologies to The Beatles.

May 15, 2010 4:48 pm

Maybe I’m thick, but why don’t they clear that patch out and kill the caterpillars? Heck, you could pay the local children a penny a ‘pillar and then have a big smash-fest.

May 15, 2010 4:49 pm

We pay our kids a dime per Japanese beetle here in the summertime. And nothing seems to kill those things except smashing them. Do you think bt would work on them?

North of 43 and south of 44
May 15, 2010 6:26 pm

re: Japanese Beetle control,
I am attacking that problem from two fronts.
I attack the grubs by inoculating my lawn with Bacillus popilliae aka Milky spore disease.
This appears to have reduced the number of adult beetles last year as I did the application in 2008 because of what we saw the first summer at our new home.
I do hand removal several times a day and feed the bugs to the chickens. I can assure you the chickens do in fact kill them, several hundred beetles survive about 10 seconds when dumped in front of a dozen or so growing protein seeking chickens.
If I didn’t have a vegetable garden I would let the chickens just have free range and not have to do the hand removal. However with chickens anything red like berries or tomatoes are in severe peril. Then there is the constant scratching.
A dime a beetle would bankrupt us in short order.

Gail Combs
May 15, 2010 7:11 pm

North of 43 and south of 44 says:
May 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm
re: Japanese Beetle control,
…..If I didn’t have a vegetable garden I would let the chickens just have free range and not have to do the hand removal. However with chickens anything red like berries or tomatoes are in severe peril. Then there is the constant scratching.
Try some guinea hens
My husband calls them mobile football helmets. I have seen guineas form up in a row and march across a pasture, like soldiers on patrol. They are loud and will yell if anything strange comes onto the farm. They are pretty dumb and they wander but make up for it by being great insectivores (and good eating related to pheasant)

Olaf Koenders
May 15, 2010 7:42 pm

“Normally, these insects settle in fields where they do not do anyone any harm but if they are close to houses they travel from garden to garden causing problems.”
“We say that Global Warming is to blame for these caterpillars “choosing” to settle near houses, instead of normally settling in fields, as they did before warming. We really have no idea how the two can be linked – if ever, but we want our slice of the CAGW research slush fund. Can we have it now?”

May 15, 2010 7:43 pm

For the folks with Japanese beetle problems, there is an effective solution.
The beetle traps use a pheromone [sex lure] that attracts the beetles [both male and female] into a bag.
When these first came on the market, my family in Ohio all chattered excitedly about the bags being entirely filled with Japanese beetles in short order. And since the lure is only a trace pheromone and a floral scent attractant – no poisons – the beetles can be fed to chickens.
They really work. But they also attract the beetles from far and wide into your yard. More than one trap is necessary to keep up with the numbers of beetles captured. But think of the satisfaction!
Do a search for “Japanese beetle traps” and you’ll find them.

May 15, 2010 9:30 pm

Smokey –
The milky spore is a very good product for long-term impact on Japanese beetles, as mentioned. They attack the grub stage in the soil and the spores multiply when they attack a grub, thereby increasing the population of protective spores in the soil.
The Japanese beetle traps with the pheromones are an outstanding product, that works against the adult stage. They do attract and catch lots of Japanese beetles. As such, they will come in from nearby areas. So, the running joke is – the best way to use the traps is to give them to your neighbors to put up in their yards instead of your own.

Mike Edwards
May 16, 2010 1:36 am

Stephen Brown says:
I’m in Selsey, West Sussex… This morning (12 May 2010) we had a very hard frost, sufficiently cold to precipitate out the waxes in the ultra-poor but very expensive diesel sold by our local fuel stations.

I suggest that Stephen Brown should choose somewhere else to buy his diesel.
The frost on 12 May in southern England was trivial compared with the ones that the area experienced through the last winter. Never once did the diesel in my cars freeze up, despite some nights getting as cold as -10C.

North of 43 and south of 44
May 16, 2010 7:05 am

I have enough of the beetles already and I don’t want to draw any additional ones to the lot.
The traps are extremely good at catching them however in the process there are large numbers that also wind up outside the traps and end up producing next years grub crop.
I vote for putting the traps on the neighbor propertys far from their borders with you.
I know about the guineahens, the noise that a flock of them can make would likely disturb the neighbors.
Last year I sent my lovely but noisy Roo to freezer camp so as to not get complaints from the neighbors. If I had a larger lot I’d have some guineahens and maybe a Roo.

May 16, 2010 9:50 am

The easiest time to get rid of them is during winter when their tent-like nests are visible. Mr Gardner said he would return in the autumn to remove the nests.
No, the easiest time to get rid of them is *now*. Roll a wide strip of burlap around the trunk, wrap a wire around it in the center, then fold the upper half of the burlap over the wire to make a loose, inverted U. The caterpillars fall out of the trees a lot when they’re feeding, then climb the trunk to get back to the chow line — they’ll get trapped in the inverted U. Smack the burlap a couple of times during the day to crush the caterpillars, and after a week, they’ll be down to manageable numbers.
Removing the nests in autumn won’t do anything except remove the nests. The caterpillars don’t overwinter in them — they attach themselves to any handy surface and spin individual cocoons.

May 16, 2010 10:53 pm

Why did I have to be away this weekend!!! I am a resident (20+ years) of West Street in Newport. I’m down the other end of the road (high teens number of houses away) and the first I heard of it was the wonderful headline in our local paper “Our caterpillar hell” The caterpillars are growing on a small bramble patch, no bigger than a couple of car park spaces, where the gardens on West street back onto the ones from New street.
The Isle of Wight has a pretty balmy climate, but last winter was the roughest for many years, and lst summer was definitely the “barbecue summer” forecast by the met office. Unless these caterpillars, which we used to play with when I was a kid, particularly like cold wet summers and very cold snowy winters, follower by cold spring, then I fail to see how “global warming” could even occur to anyone.
Anyway, apart from amusing my emigrant (to mainland England) children with the story, I missed the online excitement entirely. NO all I’ve got look forward to is my holiday in Iceland, booked about a week before Eyakatlajokull kicked off! Caterpillars and eruptions, living dangerously, or what?

May 16, 2010 10:54 pm

Damn, it was definitely NOT the barbecue summer.

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