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Waxworms Need to be Happy, but Not Too Happy

Today, we will address a question from a reader in Germany. She raises waxworms to use as bait when trout fishing. She’s having no problem keeping them alive. The issue is that the wax worms start to spin silk for cocoons before she has a chance to go fishing! Once the worms start their journey to moth, they’re no longer useful as trout bait. She wonders if we can give her some advice as to how to persuade these little guys not to continue on to their next life stage. Continue reading [...]

Caterpillars on Acacia Tree are Likely Not a Threat

Recently, a reader wrote to us from Bronberg Ridge in Pretoria. She states that she saw some worms on the leaves of her haak-en-steek Acacia tree. These worms were hanging, suspended on a thread, from the branches of the tree. The worms had no hairs, were pale green, and were about 20 mm (a little more than ¾”) in length. She wonders if we know what these creatures are and if she should be concerned about them hurting her tree.We love questions like this, because they allow us to learn things that are a bit outside our comfort zone. First, let’s look into the location. Knowing where a reader lives helps us to figure out what creatures are common to that area. In this case, we’re not sure where Bronberg Ridge in Pretoria is located. A quick google reveals that it is in the Gauteng Continue reading [...]

Mysterious Visitor is a Hornworm Caterpillar

A woman sent us the photograph below of a handsome green critter she found in her garden, with the simple request that we identify it. Luckily, it’s a great photograph, and gives us some great clues about its identity. We can see several distinct characteristics to help us identify the species. The way the critter is segmented is helpful, as are the black spots on its body. But the most telling traits are the horn seen at the top of the picture and the stripes on the side of its body. Continue reading [...]

Emperor Moths in KwaZulu Natal Province May (or May Not) be Far From Home

A reader from Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa recently wrote to tell us that she had sighted African Emperor Moths and caterpillars near here home, and wonders if it is usual to find this type of moth so far inland. Continue reading [...]

Lepidopteran Caterpillars Cause Swelling

A reader approached us with a question about a literal brush with nature. While outside, she accidentally brushed her ankle against a caterpillar. Very quickly, she noticed her ankle swelling. She’s curious what type of caterpillar this might be, and has sent in a picture to help us identify it. Continue reading [...]

Caterpillar in Bed is a Mystery

While a lot of us let our cats or dogs sleep in bed with us, it’s unlikely there is anyone who wants any sort of worm in their bed. Unfortunately, that is exactly the situation that one reader has encountered. Continue reading [...]