Post last updated: January 28th, 2019

Monarch Caterpillar

The downside to writing a blog is that your circle of people – the local ones – end up knowing things about you that, later on, you really wish they didn’t know.  My quest to build a butterfly habitat became one of those innocent subjects the locals knew about that got me in a world of trouble.

One of my people sent me this email: “Do you have enough milkweed that you could take some of the small caterpillars from here, that are out of plant food, to your plants? They need to find food today, I would think.”

I’m fairly certain that I mentioned in my milkweed post that while I was watching over my monarch caterpillars, I was not, in any way, touching them because they are worms. Did she miss that part of the post? Should I have written it in all capital letters? I DON’T DO WORMS.

Needless to say, my eyeballs were bouncing off my computer monitor as I read that she wanted me to come get her caterpillars and transport them home in my car. Things happen to me. Her email is proof positive that I can’t even stay home, minding my own business, and stay out of trouble. So, obviously, I know better than to put a container of caterpillars in my car and then head home at 45 miles per hour. There is no question in my mind that the little butter tub of caterpillars would fall victim to spontaneous combustion and blow the lid off sending caterpillars flying through the air. I’d wind up with worms crawling all over my body. Worms that have black horns at both ends of their body. It was all I could do to suppress a heart-stopping scream just thinking about it.

Right behind that thought was the question “Did her caterpillars already eat her milkweed to the ground? Can that happen?” I have less than a handful of caterpillars at any given time. They eat all the aphids and the tops out of the milkweed but I still have a four-foot bush with leaves. If her caterpillars have gnawed her milkweed to the ground, then she must have a serious infestation. Granted, the infestation will one day be monarch butterflies, but, in the meantime, they are worms. Again, I shuddered at the thought of sitting in the driver’s seat with hundreds of worms all over my body.

Right behind that thought was the notion that I had to deal with this today because she believed her caterpillars were on the verge of imminent starvation.

Emails flew back and forth. I could tell she was fixated on finding food for her caterpillars. Shot down by my worm aversion, she turned to the telephone to find a nursery who still had milkweed this late in the season.

Meanwhile, thunder rolled through the skies, lightning bolted toward the ground and heavy rain was on its way. I did not want her out on the roads as an accident-waiting-to-happen so I called. “This is why we go to Bible studies, Sunday school and church. To remind us to turn our concerns over to God. Now give those caterpillars to God and let Him worry about them.”

I can almost promise you that she ignored my suggestion. I can also promise you that when you do something slightly crazy, downright crazy, or eye-poppingly crazy and you involve me in it or tell me about it, I’m going to write about you. You have been warned.


  1. Everyone up here is asking when are the monarchs gonna get here… Ida totally taken them…
    I saw a big colony of tussock moth caterpillars on a milkweed yesterday, that seems like a hopeful sign.
    Have you seen tussock cats? They’re Kewt!

    1. Yes, I have seen them here but had no idea what they were called nor do I know anything about them. I had to go to Yahoo Images to look ’em up when you gave me the name of them. I agree — too kewt! I’ve had two crops of monarch caterpillars but I only seem to see one butterfly for every 4-5 caterpillars. I’ve seen a Tiger Swallowtail around my cassia/acassia (???) bush and I hope she was laying some eggs.

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