Bee and let bee with fuzzy wuzzy caterpillars

November 18th, 2010 Posted in Insects

As a kid, I played with these “fuzzy wuzzies” like crazy. So now, even when they’re chomping a few plants, I leave them alone.

fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar on chrysanthemum

This one is a saltmarsh caterpillar (one of the woolly bears) that pupates into a white moth. The ones with red stripes are a different genus and turn into the giant leopard moth.

Bees joined the party on the bedraggled ‘Butterpat’ mums. (I’ll get around to deadheading this weekend to extend the blooming and tidy things up).

Bee on 'Butterpat' mum

A beetle I’ve always called the spotted cucumber beetle came in for a bite, too. If it’s not that beetle, it’s another that’s up to no good.

Bee and beetle on chrysanthemum

A common mistake is blasting “some kind of” insecticide whenever anyone shows up, without knowing if it’s the right treatment. Many common products, even organic, wouldn’t bother my fuzzy wuzzy at all, but would end the bee’s life. Maybe or maybe not they’d kill the beetle. I just left everyone alone to work it out.

An important revelation to me as a new gardener was learning to read labels. Now, I know a little bit more, so I REALLY read labels. We can be enticed by the words “organic” and “natural”. Indeed, they may be perfectly natural, but will naturally kill a lot of beneficials in your garden.

The only pesticide I use now is Bt when caterpillars are chomping my mountain laurels to twigs. Or spinosad bait and orange oil drenches when the fire ants are out of control.  Otherwise, if something really “bugs” me, I use the best organic treatment: my hands or my foot. Even then, I’m cautious, because “good bugs” can fool you when they’re in their larval stage by looking like something evil. I’ve heard more stories of organic gardeners squashing lady bug larvae.

Since this is a time of year we step back and reflect on our triumphs, tragedies, and lessons learned the past 11 months, this week on CTG, we do something a little different. Instead of our usual format, we bring together Tom, Trisha, Daphne and John in a roundtable conversation for a chance to get to know them better.

Hear how they got started in gardening, their latest revelations, and why organic gardening guides them. We thank Vicki, along with other viewers, who asked us to do this special segment.

Country Girl chrysanthemum

Until next week, Linda

  1. 16 Responses to “Bee and let bee with fuzzy wuzzy caterpillars”

  2. By Jan Howell on Nov 18, 2010

    Linda–Your blog this week reminds me of a quote I saw recently–”What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.” Not sure who wrote this…I lost my dad recently and I think of this quote a lot now and always seem to see a butterfly! Thanks–Jan


    Linda reply on November 18th, 2010 6:09 pm:

    Oh, Jan, that is so beautiful. And so true. I sure am sorry about your dad. Your philosophy touches me very much. My heart is with you. Linda


  3. By Judith Tye on Nov 18, 2010

    That was a good idea, and it was fascinating hearing the folks talk, but Linda, why on earth weren’t you in on it? I would have loved to have heard your voice added to the mix, and I’ll bet so would most who watch this program. But you probably have enough on your plate as it is!
    Best to you and crew,
    Judy Tye


    Linda reply on November 18th, 2010 6:07 pm:

    Thanks, Judy! Geez, I would have yapped too much!


  4. By Iris on Nov 18, 2010

    While I can’t kill the woolly bears, my husband and I have carefully relocated them from the lettuce bed to some ignored lantana far away. So far so good. And so far, we haven’t resorted to any products. I really appreciate your clarifying the “organic”" “natural” definitions. Looking forward to this weekend’s CTG!


    Linda reply on November 19th, 2010 4:03 pm:

    Yes, Iris, just before I published the blog, I threw a woolly bear off my lettuce into the creek! It’ll take him awhile to walk back!


  5. By Bob Beyer on Nov 18, 2010

    I don’t know of a single gardener who doesn’t love talking about gardening, so you would have fit in well. This will be a nice change to the normal CTG program routine – looking forward to seeing it this Saturday (won’t cheat and view it on YouTube in advance).


  6. By Tina Poe on Nov 18, 2010

    I love to bee and let bee. I look forward to watching the episode!


  7. By Hella Wagner on Nov 19, 2010

    I have “lost” all the leaves on my passion vine for the second time this year – oh well, I am hoping that this means lots more butterflies next year. Looks a little bare now and needs to be pruned back this weekend.

    A good weekend to everyone!


    Linda reply on November 19th, 2010 4:02 pm:

    Oh, Hella, they’ll be back with a vengeance! Yes, we’re heading into bare times but I sure look forward to some much-needed cleaning up!


  8. By pat carroll (schultz) on Nov 19, 2010

    LOVE to read your blog every time, and the photos are super great. I would like to get permission from the photographer to use some of them as references for oil or watercolor paintings????Who and how?


    Linda reply on November 19th, 2010 4:01 pm:

    I’m the photographer and you have my permission. I’m flattered!


  9. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Nov 20, 2010

    Let me know if you get an ID on that little spotted beetle. It’s one of the few bugs that’s a problem in my garden. It feeds on a variety of plants including roses and tomatoes. I don’t use poisons so it’s a satisfying squish for me.

    Another reason I long for chickens…wouldn’t it be nice if something harmful to the plants was a yummy treat for the hens?


    Linda reply on November 20th, 2010 4:00 pm:

    I’ll let you know! Yes, that is another great reason to have chickens!


  10. By Yard Farm on Nov 30, 2010

    Just be careful of putting any pesticides (especially Bt) on things that you will be eating directly, i.e. lettuce, greens, kale, etc.


  11. By Sunny form Stone Art's Blog on Dec 1, 2010

    Love the shot of the saltmarsh caterpillar.


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