The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This monster is munching my lime tree. Or was. Not any more…

Screen shot 2014-12-10 at 7.04.14 AMIt’s the caterpillar of the Large Citrus Butterfly, and those pink horns on the front extend to about a centimetre long. They have no function except to make him look scary when he feels threatened. Are you scared yet? He’s clearly helped himself to a lot of lime tree leaves; he was the size of my forefinger.

When everything is so dry, any plants that are irrigated and green fall prey to more than their fair share of pests. There was a huge field grasshopper out there this morning. He’s gone too. We have discovered the trick of disposing of those babies. They’ll jump away if you bring your hand close to them, but if you use a grabber, they don’t register it as a threat until it’s Too Late.  This is where I really need chooks to take care of the extra protein…

And it’s raining. Not too much, not very heavy, but it’s better than nothing 🙂


21 thoughts on “The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  1. Gotta protect that special lime tree! 🙂

  2. claire93 says:

    gosh you’ll have your work cut out for you trying to keep pests at bay. Hurry up and get your coop set up so that you can get some chooks in to do all the work!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m afraid it’s always going to be an uphill struggle. While all the plants and flowers are bigger, lusher and brighter, the pests are sized accordingly! I’d never seen grasshoppers or caterpillars so large till I moved to the tropics. But you’re right, chooks will help a lot.

  3. tialys says:

    Lordy! That really is a beast.

  4. ordinarygood says:

    I wish I could push our heavy rain back over the Tasman Sea to your patch. We are well rinsed with more rinsing happening as I type.

    There is beauty in that caterpillar but not for your precious fruit trees.

    • katechiconi says:

      There is certainly beauty in its efficiency at demolishing leaves, but I can’t see it anywhere else, the bloated monster. Do send me your rain, the morning 5 minute thunderstorm is over, leaving us with grey overcast, 32C and 95% humidity. If it’s going to be that wet, I’d rather it was falling as rain!

      • ordinarygood says:

        Now a cold southerly is blowing with rain. It was northerly and rain earlier on. Heater on just a little.

        Your conditions leave me limp just thinking about them.

        Eating machines in the garden can be surprising at times. One of our pink Petunia’s has been gobbled up but the remaining 5 plants look in great health. I’ve been feeding and watering them….no idea what had a good feed on one plant.

      • katechiconi says:

        I think my upbringing in the south of England may have fitted me better for your part of the world. Conversely, my parents lived in Africa for years and I learned about tropical living from them, so it didn’t come as a total shock when I moved here.

  5. EllaDee says:

    I’m ambivalent about caterpillars, on the one hand munching machines, on the other hand butterflies… However, your fruit trees and veges are food for you so off limits to freeloaders.
    The weather is promising rain here too 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Large Citrus Butterflies are very pretty, and the grasshoppers do more damage than the caterpillars, but as you say, they’re munching on MY food, and as a predator higher up the food chain, I’m taking action!

  6. pattisj says:

    This caterpillar proves we are what we eat. It was hard to identify him from the leaves. I’ve seen the little “horns” come out on some of our caterpillars. I think they’re cute, so they don’t scare me. 😉

  7. Kirsten says:

    He is a whopper! What do you do with them once you’ve caught them?

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