Monday, May 29, 2006

Step one is (not) optional

(Wise quote from Jess's uncle: "If you're going to be a home-owner, you better get comfortable with killing things.")

Based on personal experience, here is how best to remove an infestation of gypsy moth caterpillars. There are several things you must have at your disposal, first:
  • A large pruning instrument, for removing branches of trees where the caterpillars have made their tents.
  • Materials for building a small fire. Kindling-level is fine here.
  • A fire accelerant will be handy.
  • Something to start the fire.
  • Obviously you must locate your caterpillar tents.
Now, the actual methodology:
  1. (This step is optional [not really].) Build a small fire. Leave kindling to catch.
  2. Go forth and prune your trees, gathering the afflicted tree limbs.
  3. (This is step is optional) Spray nests with fire accelerant (WD-40 works).
  4. Place limbs over fire so that nests catch and burn caterpillars.
I can't say what comes after that, because we skipped step one. Our method was more like this:
  1. Go forth and prune your trees, gathering the afflicted tree limbs.
  2. Place cardboard under tree limbs.
  3. Light cardboard on fire.
  4. Add accelerant after realizing fire is taking forever to start.
  5. Caterpillars realize things are heating up, crawl out of nests by the hundreds, and take off running.
  6. You alternate crushing the fleeing caterpillars with your feet and spraying the whole scene with WD-40 to help the fire spread and do its work.
  7. Disgusted, nauseated, and perhaps a little scorched, you hose down the impacted area.
  8. You scuff the caterpillar guts off your shoes later.
So, the moral of the story? The fire better be hot enough to kill those bastards before they have a chance to notice it, or a simple sweep and clear becomes a total clusterfuck.

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