Very Hungry Caterpillars, & Aren’t They Always Hungry, Can Eat A Plant Bare In A Few Days. But Mature Plants Recover Very Quickly & Are Often Stronger Than Ever.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar And Friends is an amusing video for gardeners that demonstrates how a plague of caterpillars can strip all the leaves from a perennial kale plant and how it will return in its full glory once the caterpillars have finished.
Whereas young plants can be damaged to the extent they do not recover, mature, well established plants take it in their stride. Personally I’m never upset when caterpillars ravage my perennial kale, its just nature behaving naturally and we need to learn to work with nature, not against it.
The caterpillars are just part of the food chain. We see birds and wasps predating the caterpillars. This builds their numbers and allows them to predate all other sorts of problem insects at other times of the year. Providing them with caterpillars for a few weeks seems a good payment to me for all the services they provide the rest of the year.
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