I was at a friend’s place and they showed me two wooly bear caterpillars they had caught:
She didn’t know these little guys didn’t sting so she told me she’d carefully caught them without touching them. I’m not sure if she used a stick or what, but I was able to let her know that these were non-stinging caterpillars.
Wooly bears don’t really do much damage – plus they’re cute – so I let them have free range in my gardens and food forest. Occasionally I’ll pull one off a plant I don’t want chewed on, but I don’t kill them.
Somehow, it just seems wrong to kill a caterpillar that children love.
My kids will carry wooly bears around, give them names and try to feed them various leaves.
Wooly bears will eat quite a broad range of materials, unlike many caterpillars.
When I used to have chickens, I noticed that wooly bears would show up on the porch where we kept the feed and would snack on the fallen pellets. Pretty funny.
If you’ve ever wondered what wooly bears turn into as adults, check this out:
Isn’t that beautiful? (NOTE: I found that picture online at some point and don’t know where – if it’s yours, please let me know and I’ll send a link your way.)
There are multiple different species of wooly bear and the moth above is just one of our local types. I’m amazed by both the larval form and the adults – definitely one of the neater insects you’ll come across in your gardening.