I like caterpillars for the most part. I usually won't disturb them when I find them in my yard, and I'll even let them snack on my vegetable garden. There are two types of caterpillar that I do not like though. The first is really huge caterpillars -- I'm talking 5-6" monsters. The second is big "swarms" of them.

Guess which one I found in the garden today? Ick.

Let me back up a little. This is a plant that has been growing outside the gate to my veggie garden for the last couple of years:

It's a pretty attractive plant, and at first I thought it was going to be a type of milkweed (Asclepias), but the flowers are quite small, so I'm not certain:

Anyway, I've been trying to figure out how to fit this plant into a post for over a month, and the time is finally right. Unfortunately it's taken a caterpillar infestation to do it.

I'm not sure what sort of caterpillars these are, but they don't look like the "tent" caterpillars we usually see around here. I'm getting the heebies just looking at these photos though.

Where are the wrens and other caterpillar-eating birds when you need them? These guys must not be very palatable.

Confession: several years ago (before I started gardening) I once killed a nest of tent caterpillars using a very old can of engine cleaner/degreaser. Sounds ecologically and "morally" horrible to me now, but it's not as bad as my neighbor. I once saw him use a sock soaked in gasoline on the end of a stick as a torch to destroy a tent caterpillar nest.

Anyway, this isn't a very informative post today, as it contains 1) a plant I can't identify that is 2) covered in caterpillars that I can't identify.

If anybody knows the plant and/or the caterpillar species, please let me know in the comments.

In the meantime I'll be keeping an eye on the "tent" to see what happens next -- heebies or not, I'm curious!

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