What are these caterpillar-looking things that fall so much in the spring?

When the spring comes, in late March and Early April, the homes of Georgia are inundated with a special type of debris.  A lot of people call them caterpillars, cause of the worm-like appearance of them.  What they are actually called is Oak Catkins.  These catkins fall on the early side of the spring, and they fall in large amounts usually over about 3 weeks.  I was prompted to write this article on it because just today the thing happens which happens every year, we loose a customer over mother nature.

As a service, we do as the customer requests.  Someone books a cleaning, we don’t question the when.  We have people who use us all year long every day.  Inevitably, there are time where we will do a cleaning, and immediately after, there is more debris.  This happens a lot of in the fall, where we have cleaned off roofs just to have them covered again with pine needles in just a couple of weeks.  It happens in the winter where we’ll clear out a gutter and a storm will come through and fill the gutter up in full again.  It also happens now in the spring, with the oak catkins.

The customer who called today, we had just cleaned their gutters on 4/6/20.  For the past week, a large amount of the oak catkins have come down throughout the city.  My own pool, which was also cleaned on 4/6/20, started turning green cause the filter was blocked.  On Sunday, my wife pulled the filters out and dumped out a bucked full of the oak catkins that had fallen in the pool and collected throughout the week.

Oak Catkins

oak catkins

oak catkins

Oak Catkins

Just like my home and many homes in the city, same thing happen to the customers, the home got oak catkins that filled up in the gutters and on the roof and just around the home.  When it rained on Sunday night, all those oak catkins were pushed to by the water to the downspouts and through the downspout to the lowest horizontal point.

Fresh Oak Catkins

Fresh Oak Catkins

A key thing to remember in the spring and in the fall when looking at debris is acknowledging when this debris is coming down.  It is a natural thing to have a service done and expect everything will be clear for a while, and that a large accumulation of debris would appear that something was missed; but if you are getting the gutters cleaned in the spring before and during the Catkin fall, or even in the early fall when pine needles are coming down, or in November before the freeze, the time between your cleaning and gutters getting more debris will be limited.  This does not mean your gutters weren’t cleaned correctly, just that you can’t help when mother nature choose to fill them up again.

Here are photos from the customer’s cleaning on 4/6/20.

Ashleigh Walk Pkwy 1

Some informative links on oak catkins:

https://www.asthmacenter.com/shut-the-door-seal-the-windows-catkins-are-here/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/12/which-trees-have-catkins-and-how-to-tell-them-apart/

https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/19249154

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