Caterpillars of all shapes and sizes, both moths and butterflies, are invading areas of the garden at this time of year. Some, like the black swallowtail caterpillar, I welcome; others are pests, like the Eastern tent caterpillar, and then there are a few that interest me, like the Redbud Leaffolder.
A tiny moth caterpillar, the Redbud Leaffolder (Fascista cercerisella), has turned some of the tree’s lovely heart shaped leaves into a patchwork quilt by folding or rolling the leaves. These black/white striped caterpillars pull a corner of the leaf over and ‘stitch’ the edges together with silk thread while they consume the leaf from the inside. I have opened some of the leaves to have a peek inside. I found several caterpillars in each fold and I was met with a flurry of movement. The caterpillars twist and jump, eventually falling to the ground as an escape.
A tiny leaffolder moth visits lamps at night
The adult is a teeny black moth with white spots. I have read that that these common moths breed twice a summer. I would not describe our tree as infested and I’m not ready to use pesticides. I’m watching and waiting. If I sense a problem, I’ll first try picking the leaf and stepping on it to squish the inhabitants. Pesticides will be the last option and it would have to be ruinous for the redbud before I take that final step.
The river is high but it’s back within its banks where it belongs. Ida left us with plenty of clean up jobs around the yard and the gardens which will take some time to finish.
As payment for our toils and perhaps to make up for the terrible Nor’easter, Mother Nature rewarded us with an explosion of reds and yellows in the few trees left with leaves around the yard. The color season has really come to a close in Tidewater but whether this was Mother Nature’s apology or not, it sure made us whistle while we worked on Nor’Ida’s clean up.
After days of warm, dry weather, a cold front moved into Virginia over the weekend, dropping temperatures to the 50’s and bringing us a trace of rain. We woke this morning to a landscape filled with attention grabbing golds and yellows. Here’s what I saw on my walk today:
It won’t be long before the ginkgo leaves turn lemon yellow, then all fall in a day’s time to cover the ground like melted butter.
Crape myrtles frame mr. gardener’s winter vegetable garden in yellows and golds.
Yellows from maples, poplars, and hickories greet us on the lane.