…caterpillars eating your their leaves. All around our neighborhood, we’re seeing eaten leaves.
On the coneflowers.
On pink turtleheads.
And upon closer inspection, we found a few caterpillars, too.
The dogbane caterpillars were quite conspicuous in the protective webbing at the ends of the leaves. We’re not sure if this is Fall Webworm. They have the yellow body and the dots, so we’ll have to keep watch and see if they develop the hairs as the younger caterpillars grow and shed their skin.
Underneath a coneflower leaf, we discovered a clump of black spiky caterpillars hanging out.
After doing some looking around, Ms. Flora determined that they are likely Silvery Checkerspot caterpillars–which we’ve seen on the flowers! So that’s a good match. Check out Growing the Home Garden’s website for some photos of them as they grow.
Something concerns us though. Some of the flower gardeners who commented were ready to ‘get rid of’–kill–the caterpillars on their flowers. Sad. The way the insect populations are plummeting these days with pesticide use, nature needs every caterpillar out there. Many of these caterpillars never make it into their chrysalis because they are picked off by wrens and other alert, insect-eating birds to feed their young. We squirrels also, ahem, don’t mind a few insect snacks.
We hope a few more of you humans might be willing to accept a few bug-eaten plants to keep our world thriving.