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Day 282: What’s That Sound? It’s Inchworm Poop!

Day 282:  What’s That Sound? It’s Inchworm Poop!


# of pages written: 15

# of literary mags submitted to: 1

Richmond is currently infested with inchworms. For the past week I’ve been picking them out of my hair and off of my clothes. The other day I found one in my bed, and after a walk in the park, I had to fish one out of my bra.

These inchworms, or cankerworms, as they are properly called, chow down on leaves, often stripping them to the veins. A large population, like the one we’re experiencing now, can defoliate whole trees with their greedy eating. Then, when they’re done gorging, the worms spindle to the ground on silk threads to make their cocoons.

On Saturday, my boyfriend, Paul, and I were trying to take a pleasant walk in the woods, but the pleasantness was impeded by all the worms dangling from the trees.

“Blech,” I said, waving my hands out in front of me at the invisible threads. “I think I just swallowed one.”

“Is there one on me?” Paul asked, rubbing the back of his neck. “I feel like there’s one on me.”

We stopped to examine a cocoon-like structure swaddling the lower part of a skeletonized bush. “Wow, look at that,” Paul said. We then noticed a thread stretching from the cocoon to a nearby tree, and inching across this tightrope was a neon green worm, moving cartoonishly – one scrunch at a time.

“Shh,” I said. “Listen.” In the forest we could hear a faint pattering, like a light rain falling. “I think it’s the sound of all the little worms chomping on the leaves,” I said.

Later, we put down a blanket under a tree and lay on it, watching the worms on their silk threads sway and spin in the breeze. When we got up, the blanket was covered in tiny black pellets. “Do you think it’s inchworm poop?”I asked.

“Probably,” my boyfriend said.

When I got home, I read up on cankerworms. Turns out, their (harmless) excrement is referred to as “frass” (god knows why), and it can fall in such large amounts that it sounds like rain falling on the leaves. So it wasn’t the sound of them eating that I heard. It was the sound of them pooping.

Inchworm (or cankerworm)

Inchworm (or cankerworm)

Speaking of crap and exploding populations, I should mention that after I posted about Rebecca Martinson, the “deranged sorority girl,” I saw an explosion in the number of visitors to my blog. I have to admit, it was exciting, and a part of me wanted to be greedy and start pooping out more blog posts on “trending now” subjects like Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy and that Oklahoma cheerleader, Kelsey, who some people think is “too chunky.”

While I was admiring my site stats the other day, my mother came home from the library, telling me about a book she saw called Sh*t My Dad Says. Apparently it is a book based on a Twitter feed by the same name. “It was junk,” my mom said. “His Twitter feed becomes a book? Come on now. This stuff doesn’t last.”

My site stats after posting about Rebecca Martinson.

My site stats after posting about Rebecca Martinson.

Nothing lasts. Just think, the trees were getting their leaves a few weeks ago, and now their leaves are being consumed by inchworms. And the inchworms won’t last either. In another week they’ll be gone. They’ll emerge in June as ugly gray moths that will fly into porch lights and fry themselves.

Nothing lasts. The TV show based on Sh*t My Dad Says only lasted 18 episodes before it was cancelled. And in a few months, no one will even remember who Rebecca Martinson is.  (Except for Rebecca herself.)

People say “the Internet is forever,” but google status is constantly being updated. It used to be that if you googled “Eva Langston” the first thing that popped up was a truly embarrassing interview I did for my college newspaper. Now, I can’t even find that article. It’s sunk to the bottom of the slush pile that is the Internet.

And besides, the Internet won’t last either. One day it’ll go the way of Walkmans and steam-powered trains. Twitter feeds will be gone forever.

Nothing lasts. Not really. But you know what lasts longer than those greedy leaf-chomping inchworms? The trees they are suspended from. The old, stoic trees that have taken decades to grow. You know what lasts longer than Sh*t My Dad Says? The Divine Comedy. Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The Great Gatsby.

Good stories last. Good writing lasts. Good ideas last. And those things take time. Maybe, every now and again, I’ll write about pop culture, but otherwise, I want my blog to continue to help me grow as a writer and be a place where I can suspend my threads out to connect myself to the world. I hope to one day write a good novel that lasts longer than I do, maybe as long as a strong, healthy tree.

Leaves in a park in Richmond.  Don't worry, the tree can survive this attack.  But it does get a little annoyed.

Leaves in a park in Richmond. Don’t worry, this strong tree can survive this attack. But it does get a little annoyed.


About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

8 responses »

  1. Pingback: Toilets, Commas, & Random Ridiculousness | In the Garden of Eva

  2. I found this while searching for ways to buy inchworms for consumption, so apparently this has lasted longer than my interest in the Kardashians.

  3. Pingback: Tree Banding: A Necessary Evil | Bottles of Hamburgers

  4. Pingback: Tree Banding: A Necessary Evil | Sustaining Stephanie

  5. Since I refuse to cut back the oak tree that shades my deck, I deal with the random surges of nature and enjoy them for what they are. Sometimes it’s an over abundance of acorns causing my dog to lay under the table instead of her favorite spots, to avoid getting pelted randomly. As well, the buffet of ripe green mini-bombs, draw the squirrels in droves, taking the risk that my cat isn’t going to catch one of them before they stock up for the winter. They have learned how to out smart her, not to mention shes not extremely stealthy with the bell on her collar. For the past two years its been a haven for inchworms and of course thier poo. I refer to it as worm dirt and sweep it off day after day or hose it off as is sometimes necessary. I was curious as to how long this dance was going to last and found your article. This year isn’t as bad as last year when you could hardly take a step without killing one or two caterpillars, but the funny part was watching my children catch and release them, attempting to rescue them all from the deck where they surely wouldn’t find any more food.

  6. Wildly Wilson

    Inch worms, canker worms, creepy little caterpillars, whatever yo want to call them they are chewing up the leaves on the white poplar on
    the golf course
    , the elm, the green ash and I see they are now on our cranberry
    trees .
    I have heard that in years past they’ were so abundant that they stopped trains because there were so many they caused the rails to be slippery an the old steam loco
    motives could not great traction.


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