The result of my bargain with the caterpillars is that I soon have some thirty nests within a few steps of my door. With such treasures daily before my eyes, I cannot help seeing the pine caterpillar’s story unfolded at full length. These caterpillars are also called the processionaries, because they always go out in a procession.
First of all, there is the egg. During the first half of August, if we look at the lower branches of the pine trees, we shall discover, here and there on the foliage, certain little whitish cylinders spotting the green. These are the pine moth’s eggs; each cylinder is the cluster laid by one mother. The cylinder is like a tiny muff about an inch long and a fifth or sixth of an inch wide, wrapped around the base of the pine needles, which are grouped in twos. This muff has a silky appearance and is white, slightly tinted with reddish brown. It is covered with scales that overlap like the shingles on a roof.