Caterpillars causing area power outages

LIBERTY, TX (KTRK) -- The panther is the high school mascot in Liberty. This week, it might as well be the Tent Caterpillar.

The city is overwhelmed by thousands of the insects hatching from eggs in trees. Howard Butler lives in Liberty. The outside of his home is covered in the caterpillars.

"We can't get in the house. They're getting inside of the house, in the shower," Butler said, "We've tried everything to get rid of them and they just keep coming back and getting worse and worse."

The caterpillars feed on the leaves from oak and ash trees and can severely damage the trees. Richard Vinson with Liberty Pest Control treated hundreds of homes and businesses last week.

"We have high pressure spray rigs we shoot up in the trees to try to get the leaves," Vinson said, "Because that's what they eat."

The treatment costs about $150 dollars for a standard home. Vinson said the chemicals do not harm the trees.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Tent Caterpillar populations typically run high for three-to-four years and then drop off after a harsh winter.

For Butler and dozens of other Liberty residents, these visitors are not welcome.

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