Small green caterpillars are everywhere

The larvae will be gone in a few weeks.

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. - It seems like an invasion of the little white and green caterpillars.

"If you can get rid of them I'd really appreciate it," said Steve Benjak.

They're actually larva of two different species of moth -- the oak leafroller and oak leaftier.  Regardless of the name, people out and about think they're a nuisance.

And trying to dodge the silk threads is difficult, and sometimes comical.

"You sort of look a little silly. Just like wave your hands a lot and try to break them down," said Claire O'Daniel who is visiting from Massachusetts.

Benjak was out for his daily walk in Safety Harbor and offered this approach, "You just got to dodge as you go through and then you still hit them. Then if you see some over here, you hit them over here, it's just, they're horrible," he said.

They are everywhere, including fences, garbage cans, benches, and playground equipment.  Pretty much anywhere there is tree canopy with oaks, you're likely to find them by the thousands. Then, what to do once they're on you.

"You have to flick them or else they'll stain you. And it doesn't come out either, we tried," said O'Daniel.

Bridget Kelley of Safety Harbor was biking on the East-West Trail in Clearwater. "I just pick 'em off before I walk in the house. I make my husband de-worm me, that's it," she said.

It's hard to escape them, really.

Dirk Chadwick seems to have found a successful method to keeping them away during his walk with his dog, Dude. Any stick that he finds that's three to four feet long will work. He simply swings it back and forth out in front as he walks.

"There's just a few back there. There's some over here. Just kind of knock them loose like that," said Chadwick, as he moved the silky strands with his stick.

Relax though, because they're harmless to humans. And they'll only be around for a couple more weeks.

Before getting back on her bike, Bridget summed it up for those that like the outdoors, "They're annoying, but it's a beautiful day," she said.

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