Ugly nest caterpillars invade Sask. trees

Ugly nest caterpillars have invaded more Regina trees this summer than in previous years.

Ugly nest caterpillars are a common sight in Saskatchewan but even more so this summer

Ugly nest caterpillars in Regina. (Tory Gillis/CBC)

Some Regina residents have been dealing with unpleasant guests in their backyards.

Ugly nest caterpillars — and yes, that's the real name — are a common sight in Saskatchewan, but even more so this summer.

Yellowish to greenish-yellow with black heads, they get their name from their habit of creating untidy nests.

At least one garden shop tells CBC they've had a lot more people than usual coming in and asking what the creatures are and what to do about them.

Cory Sheffield, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, said the caterpillars aren't very dangerous to trees.

"They do consume leaves — it's what caterpillars do," Sheffield said. "But most of the trees that they'd feed on can handle quite a large amount of this damage and will recover next year."

Sheffield has some tips for getting rid of the caterpillars.

"The easiest thing to do is get like a shopping bag, put it over the nest, and just snip the branch," he said. "Either free that or tie it up and throw into your garbage."