Thursday, July 8, 2010

Worm karma

I hope, hope, hope the worm karma gods will look kindly on me and my ignorance.

I have five healthy dill plants in my little herb garden. I have no cucumbers right now, but will eventually, and I've also agreed to trade dill for cucumbers with my gardening guru. So when I walked past the dill yesterday and saw some little worms munching away, I admit I panicked.

I grabbed a glove, picked those suckers off and squished them. Then I left a message for my friend, asking her what might be eating our dill. Just for good measure, I also took a photo and e-mailed it to her.

Blurry photo of a future swallowtail butterfly.
She called back, too late to save some of the worms, but in time to rescue at least one, and probably more today.

These "dill worms" are swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. They eventually travel to Mexico, because it isn't hot enough in West Virginia, apparently. The last thing I would ever want to do is single-handedly decimate the butterfly population in southern West Virginia. Or Mexico.

They remind me of hornworms, only much littler, and Elora explained that I don't need to kill those, either. I watched hornworms strip clean the top of a tomato plant a couple years ago, so I'm not inclined to save their lives, but she says the white bumps on top of hornworms actually are wasp eggs, and that's a good thing.

I'll take her word for it. Future hornworms will be deposited in the woods behind our house. Future dill worms will be placed in an old flower pot with the one in the picture, with their own dill head for snacking.

It's a small sacrifice. I do what I can.

1 comment:

altopower said...

I had no idea there even WERE good worms or that worm-like things could become butterflies. Clearly I am not a gardener!