The first order of business is to apologize for the quality of the pictures. My son took them at his college apartment. He does not have a high quality camera in his phone. But, one day he went out to his car and the caterpillars in the first two pictures were EVERYWHERE! Literally hundreds of them! They were even all over his car. The second two photos are of the cocoons. The third picture is of the cocoons - again HUNDREDS - around the screen door on his patio. The fourth is an individual cocoon.
I have identified these as the Tussock Moth. I am going to try to link to a moth expert that I have found online and see whether we can find out why they SWARMED like that and whether that is normal Tussock Moth behavior. By the way, this is my second son, Richard. He is in Tampa, Florida, and his apartments have Live Oak trees with Spanish Moss and azalea bushes. (I am listing this information in case that helps explain why so many were here.) I am participating in Nature Notes at Rambling Woods, because I know Michelle will think this is cool - LOL! And, because I want to share this with everyone and hear theories on THE GREAT MOTH INVASION.
By the way, isn't it a weird coincidence that I JUST did that post for Nature Notes about the other moth cocoon that I had found in Ohio?
On a fairly unrelated note - I thought Nature Notes users would like this - I was on Google Earth and right on their main page you push "Connect" and then there are buttons to push to take a street level TOUR OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN JAPAN!!! I did it - its cool!! :)