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Thousands of caterpillars invade Arroyo Grande neighborhood

Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 22:26:29-04

A neighborhood just outside of Arroyo Grande has been invaded by caterpillars.

Property managers called KSBY to help find out why the insects chose Ken-Mar Gardens Mobile Home Park on Halcyon Road as their new home.

“There’s, I don’t know, 5,000 or 6,000 over the past four days,” said Tod Wellington Jarmin, Ken-Mar Gardens resident.

“A little grossed out,” said Renae McManus. “I feel like we can’t walk our dogs, we can’t be outside playing. They just crawl all over everything.”

Property manager Ed Stanton has tried taking care of the problem and so have residents, to no avail.

A pest control business told Stanton the problem was too big for them to handle.

“We tried code enforcement, health department, and no one will give us a hand with this problem,” Santon added.

An entomologist with the County of San Luis Obispo Agriculture Department identified the caterpillars as painted lady larvae, saying this is all part of the seasonal migration for the future butterflies.

County officials say there isn’t much they can do to help, encouraging the residents to embrace their new neighbors until they transform into butterflies and fly off to the Pacific Northwest.