From Tracie: Fuzzy Updates or The Great Caterpillar Infestation of 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fuzzy Updates or The Great Caterpillar Infestation of 2010

You might have seen that we had an unidentified fuzzy visitor at our house on Tuesday. For those of you who haven't been following along with me on facebook as I have embarked on the caterpillar adventure, here is an update.

On Wednesday, we were visited by Caterpillar Number 2 (that is one creative name I gave him, isn't it?)

Caterpillar Number 2:
I still didn't know exactly what kind of caterpillar we were dealing with, so I wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to eat.  I decided we would put this one on a bush instead of the grass.

I love how he stretched out on the branch for this second picture.  One thing I noticed is that he had much shorter fuzzys than the first one we found.

About thrity minutes after we said goodbye to Caterpillar Number 2, Katarina called out, "Mom look, it is another caterpillar!" I was sure that she must be teasing me, but I walked over to the tv cabinet and looked down at the floor where she was pointing. There it was......

Caterpillar Number 3:
Katarina wanted to put Caterpillar Number 3 next to Number 2, but he had already crawled away at this point. We put Number 3 on the same bush, and he seemed much more interested in the leaves than Number 2 had been.
Do you think Caterpillar Number 3 looks like he might be getting a little aggressive with that leaf? 

That night my mom called and Katarina told her that we had a Caterpillar Infestation! I thought that three caterpillars did seem a big much, in fact I even wondered if there was some small "Caterpillars welcome here" sign on my door that I didn't know about....but infestation seemed like an extreme word. Surely three caterpillars in two days was all there would be. I was wrong. 

Thursday afternoon. I looked down and noticed something brown. What was it? 
Caterpillar Number 4: 

At this point, Katarina had a plan. We should keep this one so we could watch him make his cocoon and become a butterfly.  She told me his name was Mr. Squiggles (I think she was less than impressed with the names I had given the other caterpillars. I can't imagine why.) 
Since he had a name, she reasoned, we had to keep him. I said we would think about it and put him in a plastic cup.  Still unsure about what kind of caterpillar he was, I gathered leaves and small branches from three different types of bushes in our yard to put in the cup with him. He seemed less than impressed.

At this point I knew I had to get serious. If we were going to keep him, I had to know exactly what kind of plants he would eat. After looking through over 200 pictures of caterpillars. (There are some amazing caterpillars out there. Amazing!) I finally found one that matched. Our Fuzzy Visitors are Cabbage Palm Caterpillars, and one day they will become Owlet Moths

We were excited to finally know what kind of caterpillar we had, but as I read further I found a problem. They don't just eat the palm fronds, they eat the blooms and those are located at the top of the palm....about 12 feet up....there was no way I was going to be able to keep this little guy alive. So instead of a funeral, we had a releasing ceremony and put him on the palm tree by our house.  Good bye Mr. Squiggles. 

Friday, Katarina kept going over to the door and looking at the floor for caterpillars.  I assured her that there wouldn't be any more. Once again, I was wrong. Friday night she starts squealing and says, "Mom, I'm naming this one Mrs. Squiggles. Isn't that a good idea?" 

I looked down and there she was, Caterpillar Number 5:  

Katarina has wanted to touch each one of the caterpillars, but she wasn't very sure about them touching her, so I took care of all the actual caterpillar relocations.  I was very proud of her for overcoming her fear and petting Mrs. Squiggles once I got her moved to the tree.  

Katarina made sure that we put Mrs. Squiggles on the same tree as Mr. Squiggles. 
She is hoping that they will cocoon next to each other.  

After five caterpillars in four days......I'm thinking that I need to break out the magnifying glass and search for that tiny sign that is welcoming all the caterpillars into my house. 


  1. Caterpillars: cute, sweet, fascinating. In my house -- not so much.

    I'm thinking right about now I'd be looking into extermination. You're much more patient than I am.

  2. We have lots of them this summer too. They have ruined a purple pansy plant on my deck!

  3. Awww! What a lovely post! That one photo of the very hungry caterpillar was so cute! I've never seen one do that!

    We don't see many caterpillars in AZ...boooo! I wish we did! I loved fuzzy caterpillars when I was growing up:)

    Thanks for swinging by!

  4. lmbo well at least you know what they are now.. not good that they make moths though.. Yeah I think ya got a sign.. we apparently have one that says we welcome all frogs cause our yard and driveway are littered with them all sizes and shapes including a tree frog or 2

  5. What beautiful pictures. My kids would love to see things like that around here. Thanks so much for visiting my blog :)

  6. My guess is that you brought the eggs in somehow or you had a moth in that laid the eggs and they are hatching in your house.

    Ain't it fun to watch the kiddos with nature! Catipillars are so cool to watch. Keep your eyes on the palm tree and you just might get to see their coccon!

    Come by when you can...

  7. Stopping over from SITS. What a charming tale!

  8. How "peculiar". It was during my walk yesterday that I realized I had not seen a caterpillar in the 10 years I had been back in California. I was concerned that maybe there was something wrong with the environment. I then realized that it was probably not the environment that was keeping me from seeing them - it was more than likely my age.

    Thanks for bringing back the joy of youth! I enjoyed my visit and appreciate yours.

  9. That's a lot of caterpillars in your house! At least they're somewhat cute. They're also easy to catch and remove from your home which helps too.

    Your daughter looks like she really enjoyed the experience of learning about caterpillars!

  10. I am touching wood as I say this given all the unwelcome visitors we have had so far this summer to our house, but caterpillars have not been one of them. They do make for some lovely photos though :-)

  11. Those are all great photos! My boys LOVE capturing little creatures like this! :)

  12. How sweet! :) btw ... I put Hinds Feet on High Places on my Nook.

  13. I use to love caterpillars as a child. I hope you figure out what is welcoming them into your house!

  14. This gave me the giggles, and then I started thinking about moths and wondered if maybe you do need to call an exterminator.

    me thinks there is a crazy caterpillar party going on...

  15. Did you take those pictures? Cause dang! You are a photog and a half.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! New follower here!


  16. Maybe they're army worms?

    This is not very encouraging of me to suggest, though...cause army worms do multiply in droves.

    Beautiful photos, lady.

  17. Beautiful pics. Wow that is a lot of caterpillars

  18. LOL! Seems to be caterpillar season at your house! At least they're not ruining anything.