‘Alien invasion’: Strange webbing creeps in overnight in Agassiz,Harrison

Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)
Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)
Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)
Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)
Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)Thick white webbing blanketed parts of Agassiz-Harrison early Tuesday (Sept.29) morning. The webbing seemed to form or fall only in certain areas around the area, and it’s not immediately clear why. (Contributed Photos/Caro Clark)
Seen here is the possible culprit of all the webbing: the hemlock looper larva. The larvae produce a large amount of silk as they navigate their world for food and pupation sites. (Contributed Photo/Natural Resources Canada)Seen here is the possible culprit of all the webbing: the hemlock looper larva. The larvae produce a large amount of silk as they navigate their world for food and pupation sites. (Contributed Photo/Natural Resources Canada)

In any other year, webs appearing from seemingly nowhere this close to Halloween might be seen as an elaborate prank or perhaps a sign of the end times.

But this is 2020.

At least a few residents in the Agassiz-Harrison area experienced a Halloween-worthy phenomenon early Tuesday (September 29) morning. Thick, white webbing blanketed lawns, fencing – anything outdoors – throughout the area overnight, and it’s not immediately clear where it all came from.

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Caro Clark, who lives in the Seabird Island area, called it an “alien invasion,” and it only hit one particular area of her 20-acre property.

“I”m thinking it’s possibly the moth invasion from Vancouver that has found its way out here,” she told The Observer. “My whole arena is covered in a massive web/nest. It’s creepy!”

She speculates the webbing appeared sometime between 9 p.m. Monday night and Tuesday morning around 4:30 a.m.

Clark is referring to a recent hemlock looper moth outbreak in the North Vancouver and surrounding areas. According to Natural Resources Canada, hemlock looper moth larvaue produce silk strands as they move down tree trunks and high places in search of food or pupation sites. It’s not uncommon to see an outbreak form very suddenly.

The western hemlock looper moth is a native species of the natural coastal forest ecosystem, according to a release from the District of North Vancouver. The outbreak of the moths can result in damage to forested areas and trees.

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North Van officials noted that it’s not unusual to have an outbreak every 11 to 15 years in their region and the population should subside again within the next year. There’s not much that can be done to control the outbreak other than to simply let it run its course, which could take up to four years.

While there could be damage primarily to hemlock trees, North Van officials say the damage and possible death of said trees is not necessarily a cause for alarm but part of a natural process to allow younger trees to grow.

Whether it’s truly the moths descending on Agassiz-Harrison or it’s something else, residents seemed to take the strange event in stride and good humour.


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