And they’re all / going to / Bug City / for the night…

I apologize in advance for the graininess of the close-ups! Wrong lens in poor light – double whammy…

However – double plus bonus points for anyone who recognizes the song quoted as the title!

I guessed that this guy was a “bag bug” and he met his end shortly after this shot was taken.

I had let myself believe the mealy bugs wouldn’t return this year. Just when I thought we were safe (and just when I stopped taking good care of the plants in the backyard beds…which is always how it goes…you’d think I’d learn ­čśë ) they’ve returned.

If I had it in for any bug more than a squash bug, it would be these. They were what tried to kill my Oxalis. They completely decimated my tomatoes in 2010. As much as I cannot squish caterpillars, I can squish these with my bare fingertips without hesitation.

Oddly enough, they also like Blanketflowers?

This crawler, I have no idea. Do you?

This is only the evidence. The caterpillar, and subsequent moth, are long gone. If you ever see a leaf curled up like this, be sure to make certain the tunnel is empty!

This guy, I wasn’t 100% sure on. I am slowly learning my adult-bug identification, but at the nymph stage…I’m farther behind.

With a side view, I could see his striped antennae. I remembered that Leaf-footed bugs have striped antennae (as I’m sure many other bugs do, but oh well) and this leaf was his last meal.

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Something’s missing…

One could philosophize as to whether the leaf is missing, or the caterpillar that ate it is. I would simply argue that both are long gone. DH was upset enough that as soon as I found the perpetrator, the perpetrator was no more. No chance for a photo op for the hungriest caterpillar.

Not only was it the hungriest I’ve seen (our poor small pecan lost nearly every leaf in such a short span of time) it was (likely as a direct result of its voracious eating) also the largest caterpillar I’ve ever seen.

If you haven’t seen the caterpillar for a Sphinx Moth before, I hope you get to some day (outside of your own gardens, that is!)

It was easily more than two inches long, and bigger around than my thumb. Not unlike this photo I found:

I am grateful, however, that I didn’t come upon it when it had reached this stage:

As that guy actually creeps me out a bit.

The one in our yard had unfortunately nearly finished off every leaf by the time I found it.

But thankfully, a few short weeks later, the tree looks to be making a solid come-back.

Lesson learned: Don’t leave your trees to fend for themselves.

I’d never really considered checking trees for caterpillars or other pests before. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many trees that to do so would be a full-time job that never ended. Here though, where our trees are more sparse, it would be easy to simply do a quick walk-by and make sure that I found the smooth criminal (or fuzzy!) long before an entire tree was in danger of being eaten.