Saturday, September 5, 2009

This is why we are a bug free home

Because when I make exceptions, bad things happen.

Our neighbor has a small vegetable garden outside her house with some tomato, cucumber, green bean and carrot plants in it. The other day she comes over and tells the boys to tell me to get a jar because she found a really cool caterpillar and she thought it might be getting ready to spin a cocoon and that would be fun for them to watch. ??? So I head over there with the boys since in theory, I have no problem with caterpillars. They make butterflies and are generally harmless, so they are a creepy crawly that I can generally stand.

I get over there and she tells me he's covered in these little white hairlike things, so she thought he might be starting to spin his cocoon. I'm not well versed in the process of cocoon spinning, so sure, that could be it. We put him in a tall tupperware thing (with a corner lifted up so he could breathe) because I am lame and don't have a jar. We come home and I spend an hour online trying to figure out WTF this caterpillar is so I can show the boys what it will turn into. I can't find shit, so I give up.

We have been watching him for two days and I started to suspect that all is not well with this bug. :-/ He looks like he is quite literally losing his shit out one end and he's not moving much. I talked to Jason tonight and told him I think I'm going to tell the boys that he died and I buried him because I don't think it's going to make it to butterfly/moth stage. He hops on Google and in less than 2 fracking minutes he tells me that he knows what it is and that we have to throw it out.

Why you ask? Because the "little white hairlike things" on it are NOT the beginnings of it's own cocoon. They are tons of little cocoons of the predatory WASP that eats the Tomato Horn Worm (which is what this bastard is). The larvae are feeding off the worm while it is alive and will hatch in about 10 days time. It's already been two days just in my kitchen, it could have been days 8&9. Can you freaking imagine if I woke up one morning to a kitchen full of effing WASPS that hatched out of my children's "pet" caterpillar!!!!!!!!!!!! ::)

Here are the pics of the poor soul who was promptly destroyed far away from the house. In theory, the wasps are good because those caterpillars are really destructive to tomato or tobacco plants, but they have no business in my kitchen.