We all love the “jewels of the garden”, butterflies. One very important life stage to support are the caterpillars. These little…sometimes huge…larva will become future butterflies. Many of us become distraught over the “damage” they may cause to many of our precious plants. Caterpillars are basically eating machines. Their sole purpose in life is to eat and grow, eat and grow, and eat and grow some more so they store enough energy to become a pupa in a cocoon. Eventually, if healthy enough, they will become a beautiful butterfly or moth.
Butterflies require nectar, the precious juices of flowers, to feed and gain energy to reproduce or even migrate. Their offspring, caterpillars, require plant material to gain energy to grow into our beloved butterflies or moths. This stage of development is the one we seem to want to rid our gardens of the most because of how much “damage” seems to happen to our beloved plants. I ask, can we make room for those caterpillars? Can we plant a few extra plants to keep the “jewels of the garden” healthy?
I came across an article to help us understand how important it is to supply caterpillars with food and the rewards we gain in doing so. I hope you find this article enlightening!