DNR issues alert regarding "tent caterpillars"

MADISON (AP) -- State wildlife officials are urging people to be on the look-out for eastern tent caterpillars.

The creatures produce thick, white tents or webs in trees and their larvae consume leaves. The Department of Natural Resources says the caterpillars are already active in southern and central Wisconsin thanks to the unusually warm spring.

DNR officials say people should kill the creatures when they find them. People should scrape the caterpillars ad their tents into buckets of soapy water during the evening after most of them have returned to their tents. The next morning they should discard the soaked tent and dead caterpillars.

People also can tear up the tents with sticks and spray the area with insecticidal soap. They can spray leaves around the tent with insecticide, too.