Itchy! My whole body started to feel itchy just seeing them on every stem I looked at. So I started flicking the tops of the stems, sending them flying, which I though was at least a start at getting rid of them. Miss 6 thought whatever I was doing was worth checking up on… Once she saw those tiny little caterpillars she was not impressed with me at all ”Mama! You should just pick them off!” she said, as she started pulling them off and collecting them in her palm.
I had no intention of following suit! …”That’s great honey! Just make sure you take them out of the garden after!”
Five minutes later I looked out to see a friend out there with her picking them off too. Thirty minutes after that, three more friends. Now they were filling little pots with leaves to make homes for them. Miss 3 was as confident as her sister, but I caught the moment when she peered over to watch how it should be done. She hadn’t done it before, she watched and she learnt.
The kids took away more than 50 caterpillars in the morning, and were right out there again in the afternoon collecting more. There were a few kids briefly on the sidelines, but confidence and enthusiasm are infectious.
Something happened in me too I guess. The next day when they were all back for more, and a few little ones were having a tough time finding them, I picked caterpillars off for them! I guess something happens when you see kids teaching and encouraging each other to learn something that you didn’t even dare to do yourself.
This caterpillar collecting outdoor fun has gone on for days! Day two they were collected as many as day one… Day three, significantly less; day four, tough pickings; day five, hardly any… Great news for my roses! Great news for my neighbor… They moved onto her roses instead!
My Word of the Week: CONFIDENCE
This week I’ve stretched out of my comfort zone and followed suit, learning from my kids how to pick up tiny caterpillars.
I’m grateful that the less than great example of parenting I displayed wasn’t what shaped them this time around!; that Miss 6 was confident despite me; and that I got to see her passing that confidence onto others. Inspired and unafraid.
How do you know they’re Looper Caterpillars?
Looper Caterpillars are translucent green. They cling onto, and in alignment with plant stems. They start off tiny and grow to about 3cm in length. They move in typical caterpillar fashion, arching up their middle, and pulling the back legs up to the front ones before stretching out again. If they’re Looper Caterpillars, you’ll find black droppings.
How do you get rid of tiny green Looper Caterpillars?
The easiest way of getting rid of Looper Caterpillars is to pick them off your plants as you see them. You’ll need to repeat this process daily for about a week, as you’re unlikely to notice the tiny ones until they’re a little bigger! I read that you can squash them or feed them to your chickens… Or you can let your kids make collect them, make homes for them, and relocate them!