Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)
This week, I’ve been posting pictures of a Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) – well, not the moth itself yet, but its caterpillar stages before becoming a moth.
On Monday of this week, he moved to the base of a plant he’s been feasting on and began the process of making a silk cocoon. I’m glad I caught the very first stage of it – and was able to take pictures every couple of hours during the afternoon.
As noted in an earlier blog post, I spotted the caterpillar when I noticed something was eating the leaves of the plant (an elderberry in a starter pot). I am totally fascinated by this caterpillar’s coloring, horns, and well, as odd as this may sound, he kind of became my buddy. (See earlier posts of photos of him during his feasting stages.)
Every day, I’d go out to see if he was still clinging onto the stems of the elderberry, and see how much “damage” he did by feasting, and then voila – this week, I came out and he was starting his process of creating a silky cocoon (not sure if cocoon is the right term.)
I was surprised he squished himself in the base between stems/branches, and the plant label, which I never removed. The label makes a great supporting wall for him. I didn’t see him move at all when I would go out to take a look and photo.
In fact, every time I stepped out to take a photo before, he would stop moving usually and pull his head into his big body during his eating cycles in the mornings prior to the cocoon making.
Upon reading and looking it up, I discovered the Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is “North America’s largest native moth” – and it is noted in references that “females can get a wingspan of six inches or more.” Cool. So it is a neat find and I’ve enjoy watching its progress.
As odd as this may sound, I have a memory from childhood of seeing a huge butterfly on a bush and running to get my parents to show them. Later in life, I thought, did I imagine this? – but I remember it being huge – similar to the photos of this moth. I will have to ask my parents if they remember this at all, or if I imagined it.
Anyhow, today, I think I’m going to prune the plant back and put a netting material over the top so nothing can get at it during the rest of the summer and into fall.
In the winter, I will either move the pot into my garage because it must experience the normal temps of winter, or put it under my steps in the front of the house.
I went to a website and asked about it – and they recommended these steps versus bringing it inside or putting it in a grow room which would be too warm.
From what I’ve learned, this moth, when it comes out – will only stick around for 2 weeks, and it is rare to actually spot the process of it coming out – but I do not want to totally disturb it and let nature take it’s course too. It is more important to me he makes it than to witness it changing into a huge, beautiful moth. Especially if it only lives for two weeks.
Ironically, earlier this season, I found black caterpillars feeding on a plant by the side of my house in a different area. I even posted a video of them and remember saying, I don’t know what they are, but I don’t like that they are eating my plant – Well, I suspect now they were the instar versions of this caterpillar because I’ve been looking at the pictures online of it’s growth process online.
Its cocoon basically got thicker and darker colored during the afternoon on Monday. By the next day, it was very dark brown where you can’t really see the caterpillar anymore inside because the layers are so thick from the silk.
He will change into a brown casing (chrysalis? I don’t know – I’m not a bug expert), eventually inside – similar to what is depicted in the Silence of The Lambs movie – like that. I am “not” gonna open it up though.
Here are some photos which I posted on my Instagram feed:
Beetle with Babies
I discovered another insect “thing” yesterday – I put out some glass jars on hanging hooks, and the rain filled one partially. There was a beetle floating around – deceased sadly (drowned), but I noticed little movements of its babies on its back. This stuff fascinates me – nature always has and always will, and I felt a little bad for the mommy – even for an insect I have these feelings at times. Not all the time though – not when they devour other plants I adore.
Bees on my Clethra alnifolia
Clethra alnifolia, commonly called summersweet, is a deciduous shrub which blooms this time of year, and has an intense fragrance. I have only one in my yard, but I look forward to seeing and smelling it every time it starts up its white flowers.
Yesterday, I walked up to it – and of course, iPhone in hand, and I saw a bee kind of sleeping on an upright panicle (flower heads). As I moved closer to take a shot, his little arm would jump up as if he was saying stop coming towards me – it was comical – like a reflex.
Eventually he got annoyed with me and flew away which I caught on a fast video taping and his one little arm was raised like he was saying goodbye as he took off. No Joke! LOL.
Because people are very interested in helping our bee pollinators – this is a good shrub to add to your landscape for late summer blooms to give the bees a boost – and they are certainly enjoying it right now.
September Workshop – Garden Art Creations
Also, we posted a photo of samples of the art pieces we will be making in our September 10th workshop called, “Garden Art Creations” – with wine bottles. Laura Sinsigallo of timefliesbylauralie is our Special Guest Instructor. She developed three prototypes to show us what we are in for! I can’t wait.
Here are some details:
72 Harrington Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016
$35 pp – Includes a pre-cut wine bottle per attendee, art pieces to embellish, instructions by our Guest Artist Speaker, wire, etc. You may bring additional art pieces to add and should bring your own wine corks. Bring own wire cutters if you have them.
Special Guest Speaker:
Laura Sinsigallo of timefliesbylauralie. Laura is a returning Guest Artist at our workshop. She taught a wind chime making class in 2015 and we are happy to have her return in 2016 for this workshop.
Date and Registration:
The date for this workshop has been scheduled for September 10th, 2016. Please refer to our www.WORKSHOPSCT.com site for more information, to register via Eventbrite on that site, or see our Facebook EVENT on Container Crazy CT facebook wall. Registration and pre-payment is required. Seats are limited – so please don’t wait if you would like to join us. It will be held rain or shine, and if a nice day, hopefully outdoors.
Enjoy your surroundings everyone – it is there for us to enjoy. Even without Pokemons (did I spell that right?).
Oh, and FYI, my “Ugly” tomatoes, or Costoluto Genovese, are getting bigger, can’t wait for them to ripen. They may be ugly ducklings but the flavor is suppose to be fantastic. The reason I selected them, along with Tomatoe ‘Juliet’, Tomatoe ‘Purple Bumblebee’, and Tomatoe ‘Sun Gold’ is because they are interesting – and, I like that kind of thing…
I had couple parsley plants overwinter. Allowed them to flower, and sure enough, big caterpillar was discovered on a quite denuded branch. Should have photo him. However this week, am taking pics of tiger swallowtail butterfly continuously visiting my pink volcano phlox. Fun!
Oh it is fun to see nature at its best. I’ve seen a few butterflies around here recently too – they are out! Thanks for writing – hope you saw my new blog called workshopsct.com too. Cathy T
Very interesting post and well done for allowing the caterpillar to stay on your plant. I have a plethora of cabbage whites infesting my purple sprouting broccolli plants even though they are netted, hopefully the plants will come back in time for my spring crop.