Thursday, May 12, 2011

Creepy, Crawly Caterpillars


It's always a battle between the gardener and the pests. Most of the times, the gardener celebrates a victory; sadly to realize that the pests always come back with double the force. Wondering if there's a cartoon movie made on this concept!

My plants suffered from powdery dew attacks. When I spray pesticide (organic) frequently, the attacks are under control. However, they come back if the pesticide isn't sprayed for a few weeks. The leaves, buds, and fruits fall. The plants stop growing. The attack spreads from one plant to another quickly. The whole terrace garden seems as though it is covered with a cobweb. That's a dramatic visualization!

Recently, when watering the plants, I observed black droppings near the lemon plants. The leaves were eaten. Ah ah, some insects have had a feast! I plucked the leaves that had the caterpillars. The younger ones resemble a bird's droppings, and the older ones camouflage very well. These caterpillars would have turned into the Common Lime Butterflies (Papilio demoleus). If only I let them be, they would be beautiful butterflies. OK, I feel guilty about disposing the caterpillars. But I had to dispose them because they were pests that were destroying my plants. 

Biggest of all

Growing bigger

Resemble bird's droppings
Next time I spot the caterpillars, I may be tempted to let them eat the leaves, and then see them fly away as butterflies. I may.

For more information about the Common Lime Butterfly, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papilio_demoleus.

Regards,
Asha

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Regards,
Asha

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