Currently viewing the category: "Cutworms and Owlet Caterpillars"

Subject:  Green Lynx Spider eats Budworm
Geographic location of the bug:  Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 10/23/2019
Time: 07:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Exactly one month ago, I sent in images of a Green Lynx Spider that laid an egg sac on one of my medical marijuana plants, and this morning I noticed her eating a Budworm, and her brood has hatched.  I thought they would hatch in the spring.  What gives?
How you want your letter signed: Constant Gardener

Green Lynx Spider eats a Budworm while guarding brood.

Dear Constant Gardener,
Thanks for keeping our readership up to date on the mundane dramas in your garden.  Daniel has always thought that the eggs of Green Lynx Spiders would hatch in the spring.  Lower beasts are much more attuned to their environments than are most humans, and perhaps global warming is affecting the hatching cycle of Green Lynx Spiders.  According to the Orlando Sentinel:  “A green lynx spider’s egg sac is much easier to spot than the spider itself. The sac is a slightly bumpy, sand-colored container housing up to 600 bright orange eggs that will hatch within 11 to 16 days. The sac is about an inch diameter with one flat side and one rounded. After its construction is complete, the female spider surrounds the sac with a sketchy tent of randomly woven silky threads. She then protects it further by clutching it with her legs as she hangs upside down.”

Subject:  I found evidence of a Budworm on My Woody Plant
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 4:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
I was inspecting the nugs of My Woody Plant when I discovered evidence of Budworms on two colas.  I’ve learned so much since I submitted an image of a Budworm two years ago.  I immediately harvested both and set up a three bowl wash of first hydrogen peroxide in water, second lemon juice & baking soda in water, and finally a water rinse.  While trimming the cola, I discovered a silken chamber with a .3 inch bronze-backed Jumping Spider that I carried back to the garden to the plant I just trimmed, talking to it as it jumped from one hand to the next, back and forth.  Sorry, I didn’t have a camera at the time, so no photo of the spider.  I finished cutting out all the caterpillar fouled portions of two buds, but I never found the caterpillar.  Do you think the caterpillar moved from one cola to the next where it encountered the lair of the Jumping Spider that promptly ate it?  I didn’t want to count on predators to control these dreaded Budworms, so I followed the advice of Mel Frank and promptly sprayed my plants with Bt, a naturally occurring bacteria that causes the caterpillars to stop eating so they eventually die, and it is not a pesticide so it doesn’t harm my predators, like spiders and mantids.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Budworm damage on Cannabis

Dear Constant Gardener,
We will probably catch some flack from some Facebook followers for highlighting another Cannabis posting.  Thank you for sharing your organic Caterpillar prevention strategy as well as your saving a tainted crop strategy.  We found information on The Cannabis Grower that states the Budworm will “burrow into your buds and eat them from the inside. You’ll have no idea they’re even there until you see a bud that looks a little off…one leaf is dying, or the bud looks dried out, somewhat similar to the symptoms of bud rot. If you see this, you must inspect the bud. Take the leaf or bud and pull it away from the plant until you can see all around it. Look for sand-grain sized balls that are black or brown. That’s caterpillar poop, and you have a problem. The good news is that you can usually find the worm by following the poop around the buds until you find the worm or the hole he’s in. The bad news is you MUST find that worm, otherwise he’ll just keep eating and eating into your buds.”  Regarding the possibility that the Jumping Spider ate the Budworm, we suppose that is entirely possible, especially since you did not fine the culprit.


Subject:  Caterpillar we’ve never seen
Geographic location of the bug:  Belfast, Maine
Date: 08/14/2019
Time: 12:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this caterpillar this morning in our yard.  We simply can’t find any one similar in trying to identify what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Katie

Paddle Caterpillar

Dear Katie,
The Paddle Caterpillar,
Acronicta funeralis, is surely a distinctive species.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on leaves of alder, apple, birch, blueberry/huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), cottonwood, dogwood, elm, hazel, hickory, maple, oak, willow.”

Thank you so much!!  My daughter will be ecstatic to know we got a reply.  We truly appreciate it!

Subject:  Curious Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Connecticut, USA
Date: 08/04/2019
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was hiking and picked up a stick, and underneath I saw a caterpillar-looking bug, presumably hiding its head in a hole in the stick (possibly snacking on the wood?). I tried looking up what kind of caterpillar it was, but can’t find a similar picture with any of my google searches. Please help me learn what kind of bug I found, it looks so cool! Thanks! (Please see picture attached.)
How you want your letter signed:  Andi

Beautiful Wood Nymph Caterpillar

Dear Andi,
Because we began our search with a false lead, our identification of this Beautiful Wood Nymph caterpillar,
Eudryas grata, took some additional time.  Our wrong lead began with locating this image online and the associated site, Beautiful Now, where it is associated with the following caption: “We love the beautiful blackberry and flower petal-eating Blackberry Looper (Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria) patterned with both stripes and polka dots, in bold shades of orange, white, and black.”  The Blackberry Looper Caterpillars on BugGuide are a very different Caterpillar.  Additional searching led us to this BugGuide image of the Beautiful Wood Nymph Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of several shrubs, vines: Ampelopsis, Buttonbush, grape, hops, Virginia Creeper.”  We wouldn’t rule out that this might be the related Pearly Wood Nymph Caterpillar, Eudryas unio, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  We don’t know why it was crawling into the hole in the stick.

Subject:  Beautiful caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Just 10 miles west of Portland, OR
Date: 07/08/2019
Time: 01:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this beautiful little guy munching on the leaf of my blueberry bush. Today is July 8th, the berries are just beginning to turn ripe.
How you want your letter signed:  Jan in Portland OR

Paddle Caterpillar

Dear Jan,
We have a nearly identical image in our archives, also from Oregon, of a Paddle Caterpillar,
Acronicta funeralis

Subject: Unknown caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Roaring springs, TX
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 02:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this Caterpillar on a herping trip and have been having trouble identifying it. It was found in early morning around 8:45am on the 1st of June. Not sure what plant it was on though. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa

Hooded Owlet Caterpillar

Dear Lisa,
This is one of the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in the genus
Cucullia.  We believe we have correctly identified it as Cucullia laetifica, thanks to BugGuide images and data on the range which includes Texas.