paul has a new video  

 



visit the thread.

see the DVDs.

  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

The Good Caterpiller - the butterfly caterpillar  RSS feed

 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Before you get upset that a caterpillar is eating your dill plant you might want to find out who he is.  Some caterpillars turn into moths, while others turn into butterflies. Some caterpillars are pests while others are future butterflies. How can a gardeners determine one caterpillar from another? How can we have munching from butterfly babies while ridding our gardens of uninvited pests?  Gardeners interested in attracting butterflies to the garden must know how to identify their larvae, or else risk losing the next generation of butterflies.  This will help IDENTIFY BUTTERFLIES and their larvae.

identify-butterflies.

This is a Gallery of Butterflies

Here you put in your location to find butterflies in your area so you can identify their caterpillars.  www.butterfliesandmoths.org/checklistshttp://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/gallery

And this helps to identify CATERPILLARS

A butterfly will lay her eggs on host plants. Once the egg hatches, the larva emerges and feeds on its host plant. Larvae go through a series of molts (shedding of “skin”) until they reach a certain size. They then stop feeding and search for a place to pupate, later to emerge from their pupal cases as winged adults.
If you’re interested in identifying your particular caterpillar pest, the best place to start is by knowing the host plant.  What I have done is to identify all the butterflies I have seen in my garden then looked up that particular one and noted its host plants and which ones I have growing in my garden.  Then I use one of the guides that I listed to find out what the caterpillar will look like.

Guide to some caterpillars

When you find a caterpillar, pay attention to which plant the caterpillar is eating. Each species can feed only upon a limited number of plants, so knowing the host plant is a big clue.
Caterpillars are very sensitive to any kind of chemical on the plants that they eat.  It is very important to not use any pesticides or other types of poison in your butterfly garden.  Maybe having a Butterfly Garden with Host Plants and Nectuar Plants will help save you Vegetable Garden from the Larvae.
The least toxic way to get rid of unwanted caterpillars is to handpick them. Wear gloves, not just for the “ick” factor, but to prevent stings or rashes. Drop the pests into a bucket of soapy water as you pluck.
I hope this information has helped you to save your pollinators.

"Pollinators are responsible for assisting over 80% of the world's flowering plants. Without them, humans and wildlife wouldn't have much to eat or look at! Animals that assist plants in their reproduction as pollinators include species of ants, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, moths, wasps, as well as other unusual animals. Wind and water also play a role in the pollination of many plants."  Pollinators

Here are a dew Host Plants and which Butterflies/Larvae use them:

Dill, Fennel, Parsley

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Passion Flowers (Passiflora spp.)

Sunflower (Helianthus spp.)

The first photo is a Pipevine Butterfly. The second is a beautiful Hummingbird Spinx Moth and the third is the Spinx larvae which is the Tomato Hornworm








pipevine-butterfly.jpg
[Thumbnail for pipevine-butterfly.jpg]
Pipevine Butterfly
sphinx-moth.jpg
[Thumbnail for sphinx-moth.jpg]
Hummingbird Spinx Moth
Hornworm.jpg
[Thumbnail for Hornworm.jpg]
Tomato Hornworm
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great information.  Thank you.

The Pollinator Partnership has put out a series of free PDF downloads for each of the US regions.  Each is full of valuable information.

Fill in your ZIP code into the box, and it will direct you to the guide for your region.
ZIP-CODE.PNG
[Thumbnail for ZIP-CODE.PNG]
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
186
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The Devil's Claw plant, Proboscidea species, native to the south and western parts of North America, is the only non-tomato relative on which Sphinx Moth larvae will feed.  It is a large, beautiful plant and I grow it specifically for the Sphinx Moths.  If I find a tomato worm on my tomatoes, I just move her over to the Devil's Claw.

devil-sclaw.jpg
[Thumbnail for devil-sclaw.jpg]
claws.jpg
[Thumbnail for claws.jpg]
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John, thnks for the link to the pollinators.  I didn't know there were so many bees!

Tyler Ludens wrote:The Devil's Claw plant, Proboscidea species, native to the south and western parts of North America, is the only non-tomato relative on which Sphinx Moth larvae will feed.  It is a large, beautiful plant and I grow it specifically for the Sphinx Moths.  If I find a tomato worm on my tomatoes, I just move her over to the Devil's Claw.


Thanks for this information, I will put them on the list for my new medicinal garden I am planning.  This year was the first year we have ever had tomato hornworms.  But I didn't get to see any of the Spinx.  Its been 8 or 9 years since I saw one but they are amazing.

I have a book written in the 1820's where these are mentioned as pickles.  She calls them "Martinoes".  When I researched what martinoes were, I found the information at Mother Earth News and they are used in Cajun cooking.

We have 100's of butterflies.  Since the Monarch have passed through our area we now have Queens that are covering up the milkweed.  Queens are smaller but look similar to the Monarchs when their wings are closed.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
186
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, the young pods are edible with a texture similar to okra but can be somewhat bitter.  I put them in curry, the dish in which I hide all potentially nasty vegetables.  The mature seeds are also edible like sunflower seeds but are difficult to get from the pods.  The mature pods can be dangerous around animals because of the sharp hooks.  I stupidly put some immature pods into the chicken run thinking the chickens might eat them, but the pods matured and later I found two stuck on a couple of chickens, one pod so hidden under the feathers that it could have been on the poor hen for days without me knowing.  Supposedly these large hooked pods evolved during the epochs in which megafauna roamed North America.  http://www.mrt.com/news/article/Behold-the-Devil-s-Claw-a-Pleistocene-anachronism-7501485.php

 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Winter and Butterflies

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere and butterflies are scarce. Here at our farm, the low tomorrow is predicted to be 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Where are butterflies when it is so cold?

We understand that Monarch butterflies from the eastern US and eastern Canada migrate to Mexico in the fall and Monarchs west of the Continental Divide migrate to the coast of California and to Mexico for the winter. What about other species?

They spend the winter in various ways, according to species. Some migrate south and continue their normal life cycle in warmer climates, their offspring migrating north in the spring. Others spend the winter as an egg, a caterpillar, a chrysalis, or an adult butterfly all winter. Some eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises stay buried in the snow for months!

Some enter diapause, freeze, and live through temperatures well below 32 degrees F.

Each species that enters diapause will do so in a different life stage; egg, larva, pupa, or adult. These species spend the winter as caterpillars.

http://www.butterfly-fun-facts.com/fun-facts/diapause-where-do-butterflies-go-in-the-winter/
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I posted on another thread about finding antelope horn milkweed in our woods.  Today, 5/22/17 DH + I put organza pads over the pods so I can save the seeds to plant them in the Monarch Garden.  One pod looked close to popping open.  We covered four pods and left 3 pods for mother nature.

I have seen lots of butterflies.  I thought I saw a Monarch early in March or April but our milkweeds are very small since none survived the winter temps.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 222
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Your "tomato hornworm" looks like it will turn into what we call a Hawkmoth.  we have privet hawkmoth, elephant hawkmoth and death's head hawkmoth, but I don't think we have any that eat tomatoes!
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 87
Location: Long Island, NY
10
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is an amazing book called Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamay that shows the complex and diverse links between native plants, insects, birds and other animals. It is tremendous to see just how many species depend on different plants for their survival cycle and how all birds rely on insects during their young rearing times. Without native plants and native insects the birds are in trouble. The systems were  created in perfect balance and ornamental/alien species that became invasive are generally not usable as a food source or host plant for most species. If folks used native plants, like milkweed, butter fly weed, meadow rue, black cherry, oak, aster, joe pye weed, stinging nettle and the like, the insect and butterfly populations would soar, our birds also follow suit.

Creating back yard butterfly gardens is popular now, but folks need to remember, as Anne consistently shares, that planting simply nectar sources leaves no place for laying eggs or food for the young. The invasive butterfly bush is beautiful but it hosts not a single species of native insect.  The interplay between plant and insect and other areas of nature is vast, and this is my focus as a permaculture gardener and student of biology.

What a joy it is to find like minded individuals who are also doing their part to support mother nature!
dancing-broccoli-23.gif
[Thumbnail for dancing-broccoli-23.gif]
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hester, thanks for sharing.  I don't know a lot about moths other than I have seen the Hummingbird "looking" moth.  The research that I have done on hornworms is that in the US there are two, one has the tomato as it host plant and the other has tobacco as its host plant.  Wikipedia says "Hummingbird hawk-moths can be easily seen in gardens, parks, meadows, bushes, and woodland edge, where the preferred food plants grow (honeysuckle, red valerian and many others)."

Alexandra, I will have to look into that book.  Thanks for sharing and the other information especially about the birds.  I have never paid much attention to birds other than the hummingbirds until I found out that where I live has some rare songbirds.
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 822
Location: USDA Zone 8a
59
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
7/12/17 So tomato hornworms must also like jalapeno peppers as that is where we found them this year.

They were picked off by the hand method. We also picked about a quart of jalapenos.
 
Destroy anything that stands in your way. Except this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!