Variable oakleaf caterpillars move through Ark.

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The state Forestry Commission says variable oakleaf caterpillars are gobbling trees' leaves and leaving messes in parts of central Arkansas.

The Forestry Commission says the caterpillars feed on the foliage of deciduous trees, eating leaves down to the main veins. Feeding caterpillars also make a mess on decks and in swimming pools.

In central Arkansas, the Forestry Commission says most damage seems to involve red oaks.

Jim Northum is a forest health specialist with the Forestry Commission. He says the Mayflower-Conway area has seen the heaviest caterpillar-related damage.

The Forestry Commission says fully grown larvae are 1 1/2 inches long and vary in color from green to yellow.

The insect can be found in parts of Canada and the United States. Infestations can cover millions of acres.

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