The State Office for Rural Development, Agriculture and Land Reorganization (LELF) warns of a type of caterpillar: the larvae of the golden after can damage trees and trigger allergies in gardeners. Many trees gradually lose their strength and vitality due to the animals with the official name euproctis chryshorroea. Branches, parts of the crown and in the worst case the whole tree can die off.
The hungry larvae have around 40 types of wood on their menu – they include many popular trees such as oak, elm, hawthorn, linden and apple trees. During the cold months, the animals can be found as three to five millimeter long young larvae in white, bag-like webs on the shoot tips of the trees, mostly in the upper, outer crown area. Creepy: A single such hibernation web, about eight centimeters high and three to four centimeters wide, can contain a good 100 young larvae, warns the LELF.
The Goldafter caterpillar can be dangerous not only for trees. People shouldn't get too close either: the caterpillar hairs of the larvae of the goldfinch can trigger allergies. Since the species has become widespread, garden lovers should cut out the winter webs of the Goldafter caterpillars from the treetops by the beginning of April and dispose of them safely.
Incidentally, the spread of the goldfinch is also a consequence of global warming: butterflies and their caterpillars love warmth and dryness and have been finding pleasant temperatures in Germany for years. A significant increase in the voracious animals has been observed in Brandenburg since 2014. This is not at all good for the native tree population - especially oaks, which are known to grow very slowly, cannot simply be replanted after they have fallen victim to caterpillars. It takes decades for a young oak tree to reach a stately size.
Sources: ISIP Brandenburg, RBB