Chopsticks of Doom

Two and a half years ago, when we moved from our apartment to the house we are in now, Dustin bought me a young Japanese maple tree. We planted it in front of our house and I have been a bit doting and over protective ever since.

Our brave/crazy friend Danielle who biked home with our maple as well as two other
bushes in her bike baskets.
In the late spring and early summer of this year, I noticed a dozen or so small, green limpet like things munching away on my maple leaves.  I pulled them off and disposed of them before they could do much damage. I didn't find them on any other plants in my garden though. 

About a week and a half ago, since the weather has cooled down a bit, I noticed they were back on my maple and this time I didn't really bother about pulling them off right away. Partially it was laziness and partially it was not really caring if the leaves get chewed up a bit since the tree will be shedding its leaves soon anyway. During that time they grew much larger and more caterpillar like. 

I finally decided to do something about them when Dustin brushed past the tree and instantly had a bad skin reaction. He said it was an itchy, painful burning sensation like fiberglass rubbed into your skin. The spot where he had touched the caterpillar stayed red and puffy for a few hours. 

The tree was pretty infested with these wee beasties and quite a few were at Rosie's hight, so I decided they needed to go. 

They always hang out on the underside of the leaves. Unfortunately for them, their
neon green colour doesn't blend in too well and they are easy to spot.
When William got home from kindergarten today, we decided to tag team this problem. I wielded the chopsticks of doom while William put them down for a dirt nap.

Always happy to oblige
In the wake of their destruction
Before you think I am a completely cruel and heartless killer, I did do a little research on this species before I obliterated them from my garden. The species is Parasa lepida, or the Nettle Caterpillar, and they are a nuisance invasive species in Japan. I may have felt a small twinge of guilt wiping out a native species, but the ecologist in me feels absolutely no remorse about assisting in removing a poisonous, exotic pest.

I am curious if they will show up again next spring but if they do, William and I will be ready for them!

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