Known and unknown – another bug mystery!

I saw a sleek and stylish caterpillar in the garden the other day munch on, of all things, a pepper plant! It was time to see what I was in for. Would it eat every plant for the next two weeks? Was it likely to have an entire herd of chic caterpillar friends? I was determined to find out.

Thankfully, the outfit was easily described and as easily lead to proper identification – a yellow-striped armyworm.

See him there at the base of the pepper plant? This little pepper was a late volunteer, and likely wouldn’t have gotten to set fruit this year anyway. Seeing as this caterpillar is new to me, and all by his lonesome, I left him to enjoy his spicy salad in peace. The stripes are a little more yellow in person. The fading light washed out the hue.

This next fellow has a style all his own. He thought to match his brown overcoat with black and white striped socks! I was unlucky in my scouring of the internet for his name. Any one out there have a guess? In the photo below, he’s crawling about on a Painted Daisy. Just this morning I saw another one (perhaps the same one? although I doubt it) crawling along the top of a blade of Johnson Grass.

Apologies for the photo quality, I didn’t have the camera properly set for such a zoom! This bug’s about pea-sized, maybe slightly larger.

And for anyone who was wondering how the Great Ant Trap Experiment of June 2012 was going?

Aside from being impressed that it was hot enough to caramelize the sugar, I think I  may have assembled it incorrectly. In the soap water in the bottom one could find two dead gnats, one dead hover fly, and some random debris. Nary an ant to be found. I’ll be in my wellies in the garden until further notice, and seeing as they’re not intended for garden use, what with their blue/grey plaid/argyle pattern on a cream background…when combined with gardening shorts, wide-brimmed white straw hats, and leather gloves, I sometimes end up looking quite the character myself! (Perhaps I should ask the round fellow above where he buys his socks.)

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7 comments on “Known and unknown – another bug mystery!

  1. Ugh, Army Worms…another thing I don’t miss about Southern gardening.
    As for your Garden Getup, do you remember what Ms Weezer said in Steel Magnolias? 😉

  2. Shannon says:

    Mystery caterpillar to me too! Pepper-eater, huh? I’ll have to check some more resources to see if I can identify him. I take it as a challenge.

    As for the ant trap, try a different kind of bait. I believe fire ants may be protein-eaters rather than sugar-eaters.

    Being near the Gulf with lots of moisture and a creek out back, we have a serious issue with fire ants. I’ve come to allow them to “stay” in areas where I don’t mind them (around tree rings, out in the very back by the creek) but treat with Amdro bait (in the morning and evening when they’re foraging) in those areas I don’t want them (like in my garden).

    Try white wellies (rather than black) so you can actually see them crawling up your foot before they get too far up. I just wear flip-flops. Then I KNOW right away when I’ve found a mound. My toes are getting used to it. LOL

    • plumdirt says:

      The caterpillar I did solve – a yellow-striped armyworm! Sleek looking fellow. The beetle looking thing is what has me stumped.

      Look at your brave little toes! Unfortunately, I’m allergic to their bites. If I get one bite, I’m ok. 2-3 bites and I’m usually ok. More than 3 bites and I’m dizzy, itchy all over, and in need of a benedryl and a nap.

  3. oregonona says:

    Help me out with my old eyes…I thought it looked like a beetle to me!

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