As I may have mentioned before, I have an avocado tree that I sprouted when Benji was a newborn. It’s one of the few plants I’ve been able to keep alive – that is, it has survived despite my “care.”
Every summer, I put it on the front porch, which faces North and provides steady indirect light all day. The last few years it’s grown a couple feet during the summer months, prompting me to overcome my reticence and pinch off new growth. Even so, at the beginning of this season, I did some research and repotted it into one final, large pot with wheels. It’s movable, if not readily so.
Earlier in the summer, I noticed some holes in a few of the leaves. This happens every year; it’s one of the hazards of putting a plant outside. But when we got back from vacation in Friday Harbor, whatever-it-was had decimated my tree!
I took a leaf to Molbaks, seeing expert advice, but they had no idea. They recommended pulling the tree out of the pot (!) to look for culprits in the dirt, as well as checking every leaf.
Needless to say, that tree is never coming out of the pot. It would probably kill it, or me, or both of us, even to try.
But I did decide to check every leaf, front and back, as before I’d only looked around the eaten areas. That search resulted in my finding this:
Which spurred me to check everything else very carefully. And that led me to find the other 10 of that caterpillar’s friends, some of whom were having a caterpillar party…
And a few of which had gotten very comfortable indeed…
Needless to say, I looked very carefully for any other avocado-leaf -munching killers. I didn’t find any more, buy Ian did a second look for me, and he found one more. Now I’ve added “find caterpillar pesticide” to my list for the next visit to Molbaks.
I will never look at The Very Hungry Caterpillar the same.