Hornworms & a Female Hummingbird

Hornworms are sphinx moth (hawk moth) caterpillars.
It’s a big beautiful moth. Dark in color and I’ve only seen them in the evening.
Below is a photo I took back in 2017.
mmm. Now that I look through photos in the search engines, I’m not sure this is a sphinx or hawk moth. It was a huge moth though and a pollinator. What kind do you think it is?
The sphinx moth is a pollinator and as is with our gardening methods we left the last 2 tomato plants for the nursery of their Hornworms.
There was originally 3 Hornworms left on the plants and then just these 2.
Then there was just 1 caterpillar and it ran out of cherry tomatoes, so I started feeding it store bought cherry tomatoes. It enjoyed them for a few days and then it disappeared. I figure it left to go into it’s pupae state. I hope that the 3 caterpillars, we let mature, mutate into some healthy pollinators next Spring.
One evening I was washing dishes and saw a wee female hummingbird land on the tomato cage near the last caterpillar. I took a photo through the glass and screen and so the quality isn’t great. However, the size comparison is unsettling. The caterpillar is almost as big as the hummingbird. Just think how dreadful it would be if the caterpillar wasn’t a vegan. ūüėČ

Wishing you all a pleasant weekend!

 

 


 

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Wildlife Wednesday – camouflaged caterpillar, sphinx moth & trapdoor spider

I was tending to my marigolds when I saw tiny petals¬†moving around a bloom. You don’t usually see that type of activity in a marigold, so I watched it for a few minutes. I discovered that it was a caterpillar that had used marigold petals to camouflage itself. I got such a chuckle from see it.

One evening just after sunset, we were sitting on the back-porch. I saw what I thought was a hummingbird flying around and feeding on my daylilies. I commented to my husband¬†that the hummingbird sure was up late and I’d never seen one fly after dark. He agreed.
I got my camera and tried to focus in on it and take a couple photos. Only one turned out pretty good and it wasn’t a hummingbird, it was a¬†huge moth. Wow, if you know how big a daylily bloom is then you can kind of tell that this moth was quite large.
I looked on the internet and as best as I can tell, it’s some sort of a sphinx moth.

Last weekend, our mower’s drive belt broke. My husband used a leaf blower to clean the mower out before he started work on it to replace the belt. He called out¬†for me to come and see the spider that had fell out of the hood. I hurried over¬†and¬†was surprised to see one of the biggest trapdoor spiders that I’ve ever seen. Its body was at least 3 cm long (a bit over an inch). With its legs it was even bigger and scarier.
I clicked off a photo of the trapdoor spider before my husband properly dispatched it.
I’ve decided not to post the trapdoor spider photo in this post out of respect to people who may be unsettled by seeing it. Instead, I’ve made a link to the photo. If you would like to see the scary creeper Click Here a photo should open in a separate tab or window (if I linked it right.)

It can be amusing, interesting and/or unsettling to notice some of the buglife that I don’t usually pay attention too. I’m glad my camera is usually with me so I can get photos to help me in internet searches to better identify them.

Have you seen any amusing, interesting or scary critters lately?

I hope your Wednesday is pest free and a good one.

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We’ve got a chrysalis

We’re so happy to see that one of the caterpillars has reached the chrysalis stage. Hopefully, sometime in the next couple weeks we’ll have a new Black Swallowtail butterfly. I’ve got a fairly good set up for the caterpillars. I keep them in the aquarium until they go into the next stage of their metamorphosis and then I move it to a nursery. I’ve moved the nursery to my craft room where it won’t get as much vibrations of normal life. I put a small bowl with a bit of water in the nursery because I read that the chrysalis needs to have some moisture in the air so it doesn’t dry out. Hopefully the water bowl will help keep enough moisture in the air.

I hope you all have a pleasant rest of the week.

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WildLife Wednesday – Caterpillar Condo

Yesterday evening I was de-beetling my roses when I found a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on my yellow hybrid tea rose.
The caterpillar was charming on there. I considered leaving it there, but I need to treat my rose for a problem and I couldn’t leave the caterpillar there during the treatment. So, I moved it to one of my fennel plants in my small gnome-flowerbed. Earlier we had noticed there was a couple caterpillars missing from one of the fennels. We presumed the caterpillar was one of the missing ones from the fennel in the small flowerbed. We couldn’t figure out how the caterpillar ended up on the rose bush… until we saw how fast the little fellow is and how far it can travel in a short time.It wasn’t but a few minutes until I saw the caterpillar had left the fennel and ran up and across our wood fence. (sorry about the photo quality. The little guy was moving fast.)I had read that at a certain age these species of caterpillars roamed around before they go to the chrysalis stage. I¬†thought this caterpillar was one step away from spinning silk, so my husband got a pear tree branch for it to climb on. I carefully picked up the caterpillar and put it on the limb. We hoped that it we would get to watch it spin silk and make it’s chrysalis. But it kept climbing out onto to the leaves for a long while and then¬†it fell off onto the ground.I watched it the whole time and was worried it would be eaten by a bird. So I¬†got a small twig and let it climb up on it. It had become my mission to save this caterpillar (and watch it through it’s stages.) I’ve read and saw photos of how folks raise butterflies indoors, it seemed like a good idea.¬†I decided to build¬†the caterpillar¬†a condo and bring it inside. I have an old aquarium that has cracks in it, that I didn’t have the heart to throw away.¬†I’m a hoarder always thinking there’s a craft I can use¬†any old¬†container for even one with cracks in it.

My husband liked the idea. He¬†got a fresh small limb and trimmed the leaves off.¬† He put it¬†in the aquarium. I put a glass ramekin with a bit of water so the fennel won’t die too quickly. We added the caterpillar and¬†some fennel.¬†My husband thought the caterpillar might get lonely, so we went to the herb bed and got another caterpillar along with¬†the fennel limb it was on.¬† Now we have 2 caterpillars as sort of indoor pets. I enjoy watching them wonder around the twigs and fennel. Hopefully, they’ll survive and make butterflies in a couple weeks or so.

Have you ever raised butterflies indoors?

Wishing you all beautiful days of flowers and butterflies.

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Not Mint To Be

P1040781Both of my mint plants have been attacked by web making caterpillars. According to some of the over-the-moon raves about the pest repellent properties of mint, there shouldn’t be an insect, spider nor caterpillar dare to venture close to my mint plants. It’s on the internet so it must be gospel. Right? … Umm Nope!

Obviously, these caterpillars didn't take time to read about mint being  a repellent before moving in to it.

Obviously, these caterpillars didn’t take time to read about mint being¬† a repellent¬†before moving in to it.

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Apparently a ladybeetle and another odd looking insect didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be repelled by the mint.

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What do you supposed this creepy crawly is?

dllgs-thWhile I’m at it, I may as well point out that in my photo in my post¬†‘Daddy LongLegs with it‚Äôs 2 red¬†eggs‘, she was on my mint plant as well.

So, there you have it.
My mint is bagged and tossed so these creepy crawlies don’t spread. Hopefully, my basil won’t get infested, but unfortunately it could happen.

I guess the bad luck with mints could be just my experience and it may work well for other folks.

Have you tried mint plants or fresh mint as a pest repellent? Did it work?

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