Thousands of caterpillars invade school building in Thailand

Students and teachers were baffled after thousands of caterpillars invaded a school building in Thailand. Footage shows the tiny green insects crawling across the walls of a school in Nakhon Ratchasima province on March 22. The creatures, identified as lemon emigrants, were believed to have travelled in mass from a nearby garden to feed on the leaves of huge cassia trees surrounding the building. After five days of feasting on the leaves the caterpillars began their pupation stage enclosing themselves in self-produced silk which stuck on the walls of the school on March 27. School director Phunkasem Tangphong said the caterpillars were first found on the school grounds crawling in groups until thousands of them reached the building. He said: ‘They first came on March 20. Their numbers increased until the unusual sight was discovered during our morning classes. In my 20 years at this school, I have never seen anything like it. ‘I think they came to the school because they were attracted to the cassia trees. We have 30 of them here which could provide a great food source to them.’ Art teacher Uten Mungyonklang said they had to stop the children from going near the creatures at first because they did not know what they were. He said: ‘We did not know at first whether they were harmful or not. We had to prevent the children from accidentally touching the insects. We also wanted to protect the caterpillars.’ When the caterpillars were identified to be non-poisonous so the teachers educated the children about the creatures during science classes. Lemon emigrants normally feast in mass for 15 days and take a week to enclose themselves in cocoons. The butterflies will then be ready to leave the pupa after five days. The pupas were expected to hatch into bright green butterflies early next month.