Wednesday, April 8, 2009
These creatures are truly unusual. Jean Henri Fabre wrote about them in his "Book of Insects" in the chapter "A Well-Dressed Caterpillar" on the Psyche moths. He studied them at length and was fascinated by their queer behavior of creating their own abode. They wrap themselves in a downy covering made of silk. Attached to this strong silk are the sticks and twigs they use to make their hide-out. Typically around here we call these creatures bagworms and find them hanging in their all too familiar casing from evergreen trees. These little creatures are very mobile in their little huts, moving about while carrying their house with them. April is the time of year to remove them from your trees and destroy them. The eggs housed inside will hatch when the weather warms and these little caterpillars will begin seeking out new territories to invade and make their twig covered nests. In the late summer I have watched these caterpillars as they part way leave their casings to feed, and retreat back inside as soon as they sense you are nearby. I have yet to see the adult moths responsible for these crazy worms. I decided to try and experiment and brought 3 bagworm cases inside and placed them in a tank. I will fill the tank with evergreen boughs and see what happens. I opened one case outside and discovered it was full of eggs. It appeared to contain hundreds of the tiniest little eggs I'd ever seen. All a pale yellow color. Discovering these things hanging from my fir trees is a source of irritation, after all they are an eye sore. In large numbers they can even kill a tree. Even though they are nobody's favorite they are still fascinating creatures.