Comments: Worms!

If they are eating tree leaves, they are probably not monarchs -- those caterpillars eat milkweed. But I can't wait to find out WHAT THEY ARE!

Posted by kmkat at April 27, 2009 4:52 PM

Not monarchs for certain, they are black/white/yellow striped without fuzz.

They look like tent caterpillars to me...which i think turn into little brown moths. Though not sweater-eating ones.

Posted by Rachel at April 27, 2009 5:48 PM

Yeah, they look an awful lot like tent caterpillars. I have a problem with tent caterpillars. They spin silk tents in trees (okay, that sounds cool and kind of romantic, but bear with me here...). The are considered a pest because they damage the trees. When I was about 7 years old, we had a big tent in one of our apple trees, so my dad sent up the tree with a stick to knock it down. He did not tell me that it was full of caterpillars, so when I gave it a good smack, hundreds of caterpillars rained down on me... and down the back of my neck, inside my shirt, in my hair...

I have a problem with tent caterpillars.

Posted by Sandi at April 27, 2009 8:16 PM

Are there gypsy moths in Georgia? Definitely not monarchs, anyway.

Posted by rams at April 27, 2009 9:50 PM

You have no idea how happy this post made me! When I was growing up, we would get hundreds of these in our peach tree, and I would capture the biggest ones to keep as pets in a little glass terrarium. I loveeee them!

Posted by Dani at April 27, 2009 11:03 PM

Sandi- I feel for you SO deeply! One of my deepest fears from childhood revolved around the bag worms that infested the park near my grandmother's house in Oklahoma. I once (once!) had a worm drop on my head from a bag and I fell down dead splat on the ground. I could NOT share my kitchen with bugs, especially ones whose relatives could assail someone's noggin. Gah! I've got a serious case of the heebie jeebies now.

Posted by ellbee at April 28, 2009 12:17 AM

You are in DALLAS?!?! That is a mere 30 minutes from me! Do you want to get together for drinks, or lunch, or dinner, or dessert? Email me!

As to the caterpillars ~ they indeed appear to be tent worms. Ours are all white and eventually turn into tiny little white moths. I'm assuming these will be brown moths, since they have brown fur. They are bad for trees and especially love fruitless mulberry leaves, which they will kill in just a few years if left to munch every season. I speak from bitter experience.

Plus, they will fall on one from above, causing shrieking and carrying on, which is not fun for the male of the house, who hears and understands the shrieking to mean, "SPIDER! IN THE HOUSE!" and comes running, only to be confronted with caterpillar(s) in the wife's HAIR.

I still have nightmares.

Please do not show further pictures of the creepy crawlies until they are properly flying moths, or butterflies, or whatever they turn into ~ lest I have heebie jeebies and apoplexy.

Thank you, in advance, for your assistance. ;)

Posted by Kim at April 28, 2009 2:24 AM

On the tent caterpillar bandwagon here. But it is still fun to watch the Miracle of Pupation (no placentas there!) and have the kids see what comes out, even if it is moths.

Posted by Brigitte at April 28, 2009 5:34 AM

I am not voting for tent caterpillars, but I just want to say these are very pretty. I do not remember tent caterpillars as having those lovely blue patches.

Posted by Judy at April 28, 2009 7:50 AM

Here ya go: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/
My boys have "raised" many caterpillars, so I have this bookmarked in case we need to know what to feed one species. Great thing is, you can search here by state.

Posted by Laura L at April 28, 2009 9:00 AM

"Fraught with placentas": Priceless.

Posted by RuthWells at April 28, 2009 9:03 AM

I think what you have there is a Gypsy Moth...but I'm no entomologist, so. Grain of salt.

We still have toads. They don't do much, but they apparently live forever. SIGH.

Posted by Amy-Go at April 28, 2009 9:29 AM

I cannot WAIT to find out what you are doing in Dallas in a very fancy cocktail dress, glossy lipstick and, I assume, fabulous shoes.

Posted by JenniferG at April 28, 2009 9:59 AM

I will say with no authority except experience - Gypsy Moth Caterpillars. These are NOT GOOD. I lived through a season of biblical proportions during my childhood where they covered our house (looked like it was MOVING), killed many, many trees and fell onto one's head. This made it necessary to travel with an umbrella. HORROR MOVIE LEVEL AMOUNTS OF CATERPILLARS. Nightmares for months amounts of caterpillars. Beware.

Posted by heidi at April 28, 2009 11:23 AM

I am with everyone who suspects tent caterpillars; I don't know Thing 1 about caterpillars, but I looked here:

http://www.whatsthiscaterpillar.co.uk/america/hairy.htm

and the picture second-from-the-top on the right side of the page sure looks like Hookah (or Mookah--who can tell, right?).

It entertains me that that caterpillar website ends in "hairy.htm."

Let me know if your Self-Esteem is successful in divorcing your Scale Number; I may want to hire its attorney.

Jennifer

Posted by Jennifer at April 28, 2009 12:42 PM

Eastern tent caterpillars, according to Dave's Garden (has photo of the adult too).

http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/showimage/2596/

Sometimes caterpillar hairs can cause allergies, so be careful if you handle them.

Too bad they aren't yellow woolly bears. They grow up to be beautiful white Tiger moths that look like they are wearing furry capes and kingly crowns.

http://www.pbase.com/rcm1840/image/64796770

Also -- it's a good thing one of your gerbils turned out to be a lady. Because two male gerbils? will try to kill each other.

We named ours Oscar and Felix and had to separate them with a cardboard wall in the middle of the aquarium.

Posted by firefly at April 28, 2009 6:18 PM

My guess is Tent Caterpillars, and they are moths, and will cocoon up. :P

Posted by Lia at April 28, 2009 8:06 PM