Mystery Caterpillar Challenge and IPM or Organic Gardening practices
You live in the countryside in Central Pennsylvania. Your family is growing a large vegetable garden. You are weeding the garden with your mom. You discover lots of holes chewed in the rhubarb plant's leaves. It has taken 3 years to get this rhubarb plant to grow this big. The whole family was looking forward to strawberry and rhubarb pie next spring. You discover the offender - a white caterpillar is hidden away under the leaf.
Instinctively, you are inclined to kill this caterpillar. But your mom has invested years in making much of the property into a big habitat garden. She is trying to attract and nurture butterflies and moths. Caterpillars are one stage in the life cycle of lepidoptera. You decide to identify this feasting critter, before you decide to "do in" the offending beastie.
You grab a camera and take a photo. That way you can look it up more easily.
Hone your entomologic science skills by identifying this caterpillar.
Click on photo for an enlarged view
Once you know which species it is, decide its fate.
Mr. Malathion, who lives next door, offers to go to his shed and get his dandy, "Nuke'em All" bug spray pesticide.
What are some of the serious issues to consider before using a pesticide?
How do Integrated Pest Management practices or organic garden practices suggest you manage the problem?
Basic Guide to Pesticides: Their Characteristics and Hazards
The Environmental Working Group has found that some of the most common pesticides in treated drinking water.