THREATS XII


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Σύνδεσμος για Ελληνικά

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The dreadful Arbutus Caterpillar

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For an introduction into this stinging matter, go and read «Life of a Caterpillar» written by wise, super cool entomologist Jean Henri Fabre in 1916. It’s two pages long and all worth reading. It will make you itch and scratch. I appreciated especially the last part where he experiments on himself with ether and bandages to simulate severe cases of infection to woodcutters and people who spend a lot of time working in the woods.

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Trekking through the bushes in Ikaria

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Kostas beekeeper in action But you don’t have to worry. To protect yourselves against the itching and scratching is So Easy. You don’t need to dress like an Ikarian beekeeper.
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Before you enter a caterpillar infested area, take care to cover your skin with TALCUM POWDER!!!It’s cheap, eco-friendly, nice smelling Trail runner Ikaria and you can find it everywhere. I think talcum also provides some protection against the sun. Afterwards, you can remove from your skin with a small towel (remember to wash it later) or you can just go for a swim.
It works! Word of an «agrimi» – that’s me!
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The Ikarian Hyphantria cuneaFor the rest, inside its coccon the arbutus caterpillar transforms into a very beautiful itchy-bitchy moth worth the beautiful name «White Weaver» (Hyphantria cunea).
However its beauty is dangerous because this butterfly drops around her a fine white dust which irritates and inflamates our skin. For example, you walk in a trail under branches dusted by the Hyphantria and in a few minutes you start scratching yourself!
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Fenistil for itchy bitchy caterpillarsThe irritation from the arbutus caterpillar (how bad it might be) doesn’t last more than a couple of hours. So don’t panic. Also, unlike other European caterpillars, the arbutus caterpillar does not contaminate the air. It can only affect your skin, not your respiratory system (unless you are allergic!).
In all cases, Fenistil or any other antihistamine cream is the medicine but to take effect…
a) first you have to take off your clothes fully or partly
b) rub yourselves with a towel or anything like it
c) lay the cream on your skin
d) shake the dust off your clothes
e) wait until the cream dries on you skin and put your clothes back on
f) stay away from direct sunlight for at least one hour
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We learned these tricks from η Έλσα το καλοκαίρι στην ΙκαρίαElsa.

💖 💖

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Now here is a tip for afterwards when the caterpillars become shiny snow white moths. Their “powder” is also irritating like the caterpillar’s, but they are not in the woods anymore. They are moths and like all moths, they fly at night and they are attracted by light. So you can see them in clouds around street lamps and outside hotel rooms and restaurants. The most efficient way to get rid of them is to put a large washbowl full of water under a lamp and leave it there through the night. The moths will be attracted by the reflection of the light in the water and they will fall in and drown! Cruel, eh? That’s a good old village trick.

Eventually however you should have in mind that the «fall webworm» which the common American name for the pretty Hyphantria, appears in the places she prefers (f.e. Ikaria) in circles of 12 years. She stays around for a couple of years and then she disappears. So, if she is here now, she will appear again in 2019 or 2020 the latest.

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Conclusion:
This summer you should watch out for caterpillar and moth infected bushes while hiking in the trails of Ikaria, okey?

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Wednesday May 30, 2007 – 11:46pm (EEST)
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Comments

(4 total)

Talcum! Yes! Life under a straw hatHow havent I thought of it? In the past in Ikaria farmers, woodcutters etc swept dust from the ground and covered their skin against the caterpillar. If that worked, talcum that catches better on the skin would work 10 times more. Thank you Nan.
Anyway, things are not too bad this year. The caterpillar appeared in only a few restrained areas with raspberries. And there was very very little of the other caterpillar : the processor, or pinetree caterpillar.
Allow me to suggest a large straw hat (Greek fisherman style) or anything like this to cover the back of the neck. To cover the back of the neck is wise in any case. Go naked if you like, but cover the top of your head and the back of your neck. We are very vulnerable in these 2 spots.

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It’s true though that we don’t have a big problem with caterpillars this year in Ikaria. They are found only in some limited zones.

Friday June 1, 2007 – 06:04pm (EEST)

They are on the leaves of my roses!
I didn’t know you had taken a photo!

Saturday June 2, 2007 – 01:20pm (PDT)

Another tip from me: Vinegar! Talcum powder before and if infected, put a lot of vinegar on you skin! Attention! NOT IKARIAN VINEGAR! Too strong; it might burn your skin. Use standard vinegar from a restaurant or a supermarket!

Wednesday April 23, 2008 – 10:53pm (CEST)

Thanks Elina!

Thursday April 24, 2008 – 12:03pm (CEST)

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3 Σχόλια »

  1. […] Especially in August and September the forest is dusty and dry and there may  also be some caterpillar “itching powder” left from last June. So, in spite of how attracted you feel at the sound of a magnificent term, […]

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  2. […] can a girl do when she’s got a rash from arbutus caterpillars while running in the […]

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