Monday, August 29, 2016

Caterpillars in the Garden, Pt. 2

A few days ago, I mentioned that you cannot control nature, but today's events suggested that you might be able to influence it. Between that last caterpillar post and this one, the larger, more colorful caterpillar disappeared. And I found three more tiny black ones, which consoled me.

This afternoon, though, as my daughter and friend were sitting out in the yard, they witnessed something you can only see if you stay in one place and watch long enough. A yellow jacket came and ate one of the tiny black caterpillars. To prove it wasn't a mistake, it came back and plucked off another.

Disturbing. Yellow jackets eat caterpillars when the caterpillars are smaller than the yellow jackets. I accept that nature is cruel. I accept that hummingbirds eat spiders. But I was enraged. I don't like yellow jackets anyway, and now I know they are destroying something I do like, it makes me like them even less. Poison came to mind. Or a trap. Then netting. I had some pink netting squirreled away in the studio, leftover from my daughter's Halloween bride costume from last century. It was light enough to drape over the parsley, protecting the only smart caterpillar, the one who consistently hides underneath the leaves.


The last remaining caterpillar is under the picnic table, so it is less visible. I found some embroidery mesh to prop up around it. Okay, little brides, I guess this is all we can do.

Sometimes standing back and watching and waiting and hoping isn't the right move. Sometimes intervention is necessary, especially when you know what will happen if you don't.  

Still, it makes me feel uneasy. I've just been reading about tourists who are getting too close to wildlife and getting mauled and gored, who are ignoring the signs and feeding wild animals, and who think they know best as they tramp over protected land and try to rescue wild babies thinking to return them to the herd. The scale of the issue and the stakes are much higher there. But no matter the scale, one must continue to think about these things.

Who gets to decide? When? And why?

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