Leave Those Catalpa Worms Be


| 6/17/2013 12:36:00 PM


Tags: catalpa worms, natural pesticide, Linda Holliday,

catalpa flowersMore than once in my life, I’ve interfered with a plant, critter or bug I was unfamiliar with instead of first doing my research.

Many years ago, after growing up in Wisconsin, I was unacquainted with a twisty sort of tree flourishing beneath the power pole at my new home in Virginia. The house had been vacant for some years before I arrived, so I reasoned the untamed vegetation spread on its own.

A full 8 months pregnant, I marched right out there with my pruning saw, hacking each 15-foot tree off at ground level. I figured it was better to sacrifice the young trees before they grew into the electric wires and before I fell in love with them.

Pleased with my day-long effort to cut, drag and stack the brush, I was atop the huge pile, stomping it into a manageable mass to burn, when a neighbor – a fourth-generation Virginia tobacco farmer – happened to stop in. I assumed his perplexed look centered on my precarious position and safety.

Oh, it’s OK, I said. My doctor says me and the baby are perfectly healthy. This is not stressful, I added, hoping he would not consider me frail or reckless.

“No, I was wondering,” he asked, “How come you cut down all your dogwood trees?”

cjgiardino12
8/23/2017 11:34:39 PM

I'm so glad I found this article. I've recently moved back into my childhood home. We have had a large "Toby" tree here ever since I was young. Last week my mom and I noticed these worms munching on all the leaves and we were worried that we were gonna lose that beloved, old tree. I'm so happy that these worms and that tree have a symbiotic relationship and that the Toby will thrive from it! Thank you for the good Mother Earth news!!! 😊😎🌳💖✌


phaila
8/13/2017 10:54:10 AM

Same here! We've lived here in southern york pa for 18 years and have never had worms before. This summer there were little brown pebbles everywhere..even kinda destroyed pain on my car. We thought it was some kind of seed never released before from our 100 foot catalpa (monkey bean) tree. Today we found one of the caterpillars and looked it up and now know what the brown pebbles (poop) and caterpillar are!!


sagret
8/10/2017 2:25:00 PM

I'm in Parkton, MD and for the first time in the 16 years we've been here, we had this happen to the tree. It was a bit alarming to see the whole tree (which is huge and beautiful) have its leaves eaten. There were thousands (well... I didn't actually count) caterpillars on the tree. They started low and are worked their way up to the top of the tree. I sure hope what I've been reading, as far as it being not harmful to the tree, is true.


chocolateluver91977
8/10/2017 11:53:55 AM

When is the best time of summer to find these catalpa worms?


raabster1
7/25/2017 1:09:17 PM

Just last night i took a stroll by my creek where i had planted a catalpa that is now about 14-18 feet tall and 6-8 inches in diameter and saw the leaves were gone, i had just mowed the grass nearby 5 days earlier and all was fine, last night all of the leaves had been eaten. i just did my google search and found this article that shows the symbiotic relationship that i am hoping for! i live in Bel Air MD on a small 3.5 acre farm and this is the first time i have seen the leaves eaten in 14 summers. there used to be a mature tree that came down in a storm that this sapling came from.


hill_becky
7/7/2017 3:40:26 AM

About 57 years ago I remember my mom always wanting to get rid of the "terrible" catalpa worms near our house in Birmingham, Alabama. I was young, so I always went along with what my mom thought, so I thought they were awful too! I really couldn't stand them dropping on me from the tree! B. Hill


hill_becky
7/7/2017 3:40:22 AM

About 57 years ago I remember my mom always wanting to get rid of the "terrible" catalpa worms near our house in Birmingham, Alabama. I was young, so I always went along with what my mom thought, so I thought they were awful too! I really couldn't stand them dropping on me from the tree! B. Hill


jackie
7/19/2014 10:58:52 AM

12 yrs. ago in purchased 10 acres on a little river I noticed I had several catalpa trees on the river bank .For 3yrs. they never produces worms until my girlfriend decided to cut them down not knowing what they were. They nevered died now I get 600 to 1000 worm every summer from just the first making. I was all told that you have to put worm on a tree to produce worms I now know that is not a true fact. Just have your wife try to kill them. Jackie hartfield


jackie
7/19/2014 10:58:04 AM

12 yrs. ago in purchased 10 acres on a little river I noticed I had several catalpa trees on the river bank .For 3yrs. they never produces worms until my girlfriend decided to cut them down not knowing what they were. They nevered died now I get 600 to 1000 worm every summer from just the first making. I was all told that you have to put worm on a tree to produce worms I now know that is not a true fact. Just have your wife try to kill them. Jackie hartfield


guest
6/25/2013 12:23:30 AM

I planted a catalpa near my kitchen door on my farm about 15 years ago, and watched as the caterpillars denuded it, sometimes several times each year.  I love the flowers and the pods, and the shade from the big leaves.  My tree did not leaf out at all this year, and I believe it has died.  I haven't cut it down, yet, but I'm very sad to be losing it, and wonder if I should try another one in its place.  There are a few around my area, but they are scarce.  Some are quite tall.  My favorite one ever was in a park in Arkansas, it was a huge, old thing, and loaded with blooms when I saw it.  There was one in my neighbor's yard, growing up, and we used to string the flowers to make leis.  50 years ago, I believed that if a catalpa caterpillar stung me, I might die.





mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, hands-on workshops, and great food!

LEARN MORE