Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bad caterpillars return

This is when I'm extra glad that I blog and keep track of what goes on in our Wildscape. I'd been noticing caterpillars on our still-young blue wild indigo. Awhile ago, I finally looked back at past posts and read about "Bad caterpillars" in May 2010. That month, I found numerous caterpillars on our young Texas mountain laurel in the Meadow.

Now trust me, I believe in live and let live. I hate to kill ANYTHING. But these genistra broom moth caterpillars (Uresiphita reversalis), if I'd allowed them to keep going, were going to kill my plant. Thus, I made the executive decision to execute all that I could find and pick off. This caterpillar is also called the sophora worm because it primarily feeds on Texas mountain laurels, which is a Sophora. Older, well established plants can usually survive loads of caterpillars. But our indigo is less than two years old so I didn't want to take a chance.

In case you're wondering, I drowned the caterpillars with a dash of Dawn thrown in. No photos of that wicked deed, of course. Please forgive me!

Meanwhile, I'm keeping an eye on the saw fly larva that are busily munching away on our velvetleaf mallow. Hope I don't have to eliminate some of them so the mallow survives. 


TexasDeb said...

I'm with you - I don't like killing anything, especially on purpose. There are times however when an insect population gets ahead of the predators and/or a young plant is in jeopardy and I agree it is fine to pick off and dispose of "enough" of the problematic infestation to keep things in balance. I'm betting out in the wild there would be more than one indigo plant in a space so even if one died, others would survive. In your garden, you don't have that luxury.

At least your invaders don't hop away!

Unknown said...

And you don't have to "kill" them yourself if you have chickens (or know someone who does). Those little chickens will think it is Christmas when you deliver those caterpillars - or grubs - or other "bad" bug! Yumm Yumm is what they will say!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Can you bring your chickens over for the afternoon, Gail? That'd be fun! That is a good idea, though. I'll have to ask around. I've picked off most of them but still have some here and there. And Deb, whenever I stomp one, I always say, "I'm sorry!!"

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