Itchy Grubs Spotted In Forest Lake & Other South East Areas

Photo credit: Australian Plants Society NSW

Hairy caterpillars are taking over the South East Queensland. In Forest Lake, a local has also seen quite an infestation in their neighbourhood.

It all started when a resident in Noosa Heads area posted on Facebook a photo of caterpillars that have inhabited her home. After that post, other residents also shared photos of caterpillars in their properties.

Such species is called the Ochrogaster lunifera, a sub-species of the bag-shelter moth. They are also referred to as “itchy grubs” and can be a threat to humans and pets. Their hairs can cause irritation to the skin and eyes.

The sudden outbreak of the caterpillar may be due to the weather. Normally, these insects are seen between September and November. However, the recent wet weather, combined with extreme heat that Queensland has experienced, could have affected the life cycle of the insects. This has caused the increase in their numbers this month.

Last year, a sudden outbreak also caught the attention of many. In May 2017, hairy caterpillars were spotted in various areas in south-east Queensland.

University of Queensland professor, Myron Zalucki said these caterpillars are social creatures that form a chain or what is mostly referred to as “procession.” Each procession is most likely one family group and they stick together as one.

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