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Lisa Yankowski, also known as The Bug Lady, is one of the team members who might answer your question — especially if it’s bug-related. Recently she shared some information about a favorite subject: caterpillars.
If you want to attract butterflies, an important group of pollinators, you should think about caterpillars. My favorite lepidoptera, the moths, begin life as caterpillars, too.
Start by choosing plants that will provide food for the hatching caterpillars. I plant parsley for the black swallowtails and milkweed for the monarchs. I have a lot of trees in my yard to attract large woodland moths. And, of course, tomato hornworm moths are looking for tomato plants. Check the plants to see if you have any caterpillars. They will be very small to start, and get bigger as they eat and progress through instars, or development stages.
To many gardeners, caterpillars are destructive pests. However, if you want to be adventurous, try raising a few in a net enclosure or a large jar with a screen or net over the top. The key is to ensure good air movement. Put out fresh food every day or two and try to keep the enclosure clean. When you clean out old food, be sure none of your caterpillars are on it. Try not to handle the caterpillars because they can be injured easily; use a brush or something they can crawl onto. Makes a great project for kids.
Plants that attract butterfly larvae (caterpillars)
- Attracting Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators
- Attracting Beneficial Bees
- All About Pollinators
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