Monday, September 17, 2012

Name this caterpillar

Remember the litchi tomato? The thorn-covered plant with the shiny red, kiwi-flavored fruits? Despite the spines, some critter has been burrowing through the husk and eating most of the fruits. And while I can blame most destruction on squirrels, slugs, or deer, I was pretty sure this wasn't any of them. Unless they'd learned to use straws. You never know.

Well, I finally caught one of the culprits in action. Picked a lovely ripe fruit, looked inside (always a good idea with pesticide-free gardens) and there he was.

The question is: what is he? More to the point, what kind of butterfly or moth will he turn into? My chief defense against these types of pests is to catch their parents in my butterfly nets ($1 each at Pastime Ace — best purchase value ever) and smash them. But I like to know which ones are good and which ones are evil so I can leave the good ones alone.

(The little boy next door and I had a conversation about how we only catch and smash the things that hurt the plants, and that hummingbirds and bees do NOT fall into this category. I do my best to be a good role model for the little ones.)

Speaking of good and evil critters, remember our friend the paper wasp? Caterpillars are one of their favorite foods, and I've been seeing a lot of them around the litchi tomato plant. Happy hunting, ladies.