Friday, September 21, 2012

New Friends

Thursday evening Pooka made some new friends. I was out getting the grill started while Pooka looked at her (kinda neglected) garden. I looked over and couldn't figure out what was on the dill. I got closer and sure enough, we had visitors. 
Can you see me? 
Caterpillars. Lots of them. Now, Pooka and I have both read the book about the caterpillar that eats everything, and after realizing it was more then just one or two, we decided to remove said friends. However, Pooka didn't want me to kill them since we need them in their life cycle.  So instead, I went out, armed with a tupperware and a caterpillar removal tool (also known as a skewer) and I pushed them all off their little perches or sadly took the perch with them. 

1 little, 2 little, 7 little caterpillars
Here they are, all 7 of them (I think 1 might of gotten away). Yeah, that is more then I wanted eating our dill plant. 1 okay, I can live with, but 7. Yikes.  We kept them in that tupperware (with the lid cracked) overnight. By morning we had to decide what to do with them.

Hanging out in our new/temporary home

Pooka, Daddy and I talked about it. We had discussed doing butterflies with Pooka before, so we decided it was time. So with a bit of research (looking up images of caterpillars on google, I know so scientific) we think they are Black Swallowtail caterpillars that turn into a really kinda cool black butterfly. Turns out that butterfly likes sunflowers, and lay their eggs on carrots, dill and parsley. So we had a whole buffet going.

I still wasn't sure that I wanted to have 7 caterpillars to raise into 7 butterflies to eat the garden, or worse yet,  leave 7 butterflies worth of babies in the garden. I am willing to keep a couple, but not all. We took a quart jar with some carrot greens we had thinned out, and put them in it with holes poked in a lid (it was a used lid, so it would never seal again anyway). So a quick email to Pooka's preschool teacher. Her teacher loves the idea of taking the rest as a class project, so we are going to try and both learn how to do caterpillars. And once they are all ready to fly away, we are going to release them into the prairie behind Pooka's school. 

I am wondering a bit if the caterpillars are going to do the overwinter thing (they don't migrate, they just make a sleeping bag for the winter), in which case, I guess I will have a few winter house guests. 

This is what we think they are.   However the only way to know for sure is to let them eat their fill and take a nap, (as well the keep it alive part). I am sure their will be updates to this. Anyone done this before?? Got any tips for me? 

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