caterpillars invade stanford

April 3, 2007 at 1:03 pm | | grad life

Caterpillars have infiltrated the Stanford campus. Hairy little guys are everywhere. They were around last year, but there are many many more this spring. I’m a big fan of nature, but this is some perversion of nature; an itchy, crawly, icky perversion.

They come repelling down from the trees and buildings and then crawl to the places that we want to walk. The doors to my building, for instance:


Or all over the picnic tables. They were completely covered like this corner before the sun moved (I think they like the shade):


For a little while, I thought that it was a ploy of the professors to get students to spend more time in lab, because being outside is not very pleasant. But the school/department has decided to hire someone to spray them off the buildings with water. Here’s an except of an email from our indespensable (seriously) Facilities Manager:


After prolonged negotiation with Stanford authorities, the oak moth infestation loses to chemistry. Tomorrow morning, the infestation of oak moths will be attacked. The buildings will be power washed to remove the bugs and the bugs will be sprayed once on the ground with chemicals rendering them inert. The oak trees and grounds will be treated on Saturday.

Better living through chemistry–

The Managment

Hopefully we’ll be able to go back outside soon.


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  1. It seems to have worked. All hail Todd.

    Comment by kendall — April 4, 2007 #

  2. It being Passover, I’d say you got plagued (plagued being the godly version of punked).

    Comment by jordan — April 5, 2007 #

  3. Whoa! I just posted about the oak moth caterpillar infestation that’s happening on campus this spring (2012), and in the course of looking for more information here I find it all happened before in 2007. I hope they intervene with the pest control a little earlier in this iteration.

    Comment by aewills — May 1, 2012 #

  4. back then, the pest control was simply water sprayed on the trees and buildings. i think it worked.

    Comment by sam — May 2, 2012 #

  5. Just wanted to point out that these tufted caterpillars are not the same as the ones at Stanford in 2012. The ones right now are a native species and are not always considered a problem for trees. I think the tufted caterpillar is invasive and does get controlled.

    Comment by Aran — May 20, 2012 #

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