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?”

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!!! 😊😎🌳💖✌

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!!

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.

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