Written by Chloe Walker
Produced for online by Jessica McGrath
An outbreak of itchy grubs has been reported across south-east Queensland.
The hairy caterpillars have been sighted in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in long head-to-tail processions.
The insects have eaten their fill of acacia trees and are now in search of a place to pupate.
University of Queensland Biological science professor Myron Zalucki says there are a number of reasons behind the grub invasion.
He says the dynamics of the population is affected by a lot of things.
“I suspect it has a lot to do with the abundance of their host plant…the weather conditions, back in November, December, providing lots of fresh growth for them to survive, and just the season in general.”
Despite the rising numbers, Professor Zalucki says locals should not be concerned about the bugs.
“The caterpillars themselves at the moment have probably all dispersed.
“There will be some lingering caterpillars…but most are probably gone, you won’t see too many of them.”
He says residents should watch out for the itchy grub egg masses that are due in Spring.
“We have had an outbreak now, we may have an outbreak again next year or it might fizz and the outbreak may die away.”
Human contact with the itchy grubs can sometimes cause an itchy rash or allergic reaction.
The caterpillars are expected to emerge as moths in October.