ST. MARYS — Patty Mabry’s home at 428 S. Vine St. is getting a reputation around town for being the home waging a war with worms.
The insects started appearing in trees along Beech and Weston streets last week. But it was Friday night when they erupted and started falling from the skies.
“We noticed a couple of weeks ago the nests were in the trees but we didn’t have the worm issue,” Mabry told The Evening Leader from her side yard. “I didn’t notice the worms until Tuesday and it was only a couple here and there. On Thursday, I called Robin Willoughby over and she looked at them and she called the city Thursday. On Friday, they were so bad, that we couldn’t even walk outside.”
Mabry described a scene right out of a horror film and one that would make most people’s skin crawl. Worms fell from the sky and onto people as well as finding their way into pools, vehicles and homes.
“It took three cans of Raid to keep them off my front porch so I could just go in and out of my home,” Mabry said. “I had a few in my house, but they were on the bottoms of my grandkids’ feet when they would come in.”
The outbreak is not only contained to Mabry’s home. Nests and worms can be found throughout the neighborhood, with a concentration in Weston Woods.
Mabry said in her decades of living in St. Marys, she’s never seen anything like this before.
“Just trying to get to your car and having them fall on you,” Mabry said of the creepiest part of the situation. “My daughter-in-law calls it the sci-fi house.”
The insects are fall webworms. According to information supplied to The Evening Leader by the city of St. Marys, the worms go through periodic population growth every four to seven years — which may last two to three years. Adults also typically emerge from late May to July.
Willoughby, the 4th Ward Councilor, said she, too, has never seen anything like the fall webworm explosion last week.
Willoughby told The Evening Leader she first saw what appeared to be nests in April but a city employee sprayed the affected region and nothing reappeared until last week.
“All of a sudden it was beyond nests,” Willoughby said. “We have residents who have worms on their siding, yards and they are dropping out of trees.”
Willoughby said she believed the city is developing a plan of attack to curb the spread of the worms.
She also noted she is concerned about a possible spread of the worms to other parts of the city.
“Hopefully we can get this problem resolved soon,” Willoughby said. “My main concern is that I am afraid that if we don’t get this under control what can happen. It’s just horrible.”