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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Caterpillar plague drives small town crazy





A small town in Queensland has been suffering from a plague of millions of caterpillars for 18 months. One woman, Dallas Boothey is fed up and has to wear a full body suit every time she leaves the house because of a dangerous allergy.


The species is a processionary caterpillar, which is a sub-species of the bag-shelter moth.





Ms Boothey and friends have set up the Itty Bitty Grub Committee in an effort to get some help from environmental authorities. "The most frustrating part is that it's been so hard just to get somebody to come out here," she said.


"They are very easy to kill, just warm soapy water, but we can't do it by ourselves, because there is so much state forest and crown land."


Ms Boothey said it was in the authorities' best interest to act on the issue as the caterpillars were now only 28km away from the city of Bundaberg.


"And each time they outbreak, they move 8km further, we've measured it," she said.
Itty Bitty Grub Committee spokeswoman Karen Carr said she no longer lets her dogs outside, after one pet died earlier this year.


There will be a meeting held at the Darren Hotel where insect expert and Member of Parliament Rob Messenger will hopefully provide answers to the problem.


"It's like a horror movie, they're just hanging from trees, fence posts, they are everywhere” Ms Boothey said.