Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nature Notes: Moth in Winter

We buy only organic food and if the price is a caterpillar in my cauliflower, then that's fine with me.
But what do I do with a caterpillar right in the middle of winter? It's freezing outside and it would die. So I put it in a box with some cauliflower leaves and did some research.
What I have here it a Large Yellow Underwing and it overwinters as a caterpillar. I'm going to keep it in an unheated room for a few days and then it will go into the fridge until it's warm enough outside that it won't notice the difference. Since they eat all kinds of plants, feeding it won't be a problem.
I've seen the adult moth a few times, they sometimes are attracted to the light inside. In German, they are called Hausmutter, that means Housemother. Here's a picture.

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle over at Rambling Woods


Anonymous said...

Oh my neat and nice that you didn't kill it. We are trying to go more green and organic. It took a long time to convince my husband of the importance of organic.. Michelle

Carver said...

Wow, I'm really impressed with your efforts. I'm sure the caterpillar appreciates it. I like the moth's name. I've never heard of a housemother moth before.

Pagan Sphinx said...

It's always so good to hear when a person cares enough about all sorts of animals to try to take care of and learn about them. :-)

Thanks for your comments on a couple of my recent posts.


Denise said...

Your post brings back a lot of memories of my father's organic veggies, though back then we didn't realize they were organic, just Dad's delicious veggies. Your photos are wonderful, I'm so glad your caterpillar has found a safe haven.

Leora said...

"in a box with some cauliflower leaves" - oh, what I feed our guinea pigs! Looks like you have a caterpillar as a pet. For a while, anyway.

KaHolly said...

Pretty neat! I hope you'll post about how it works out for you!! ~karen

fairchildstreet said...

Interesting. Charmaine

LucianaK said...

So glad we found your post! We just found the same caterpillar in our organic cauliflower and right now he is in a jar with some cauliflower. But we're so unsure what to do with it as it is January right now. So could you please give us a bit more info? Shall we put him in the fridge? How did you do it? When do you think would be time to let him go?

Jedediah said...

Luciana, I can't comment on your blog, so I'm hoping you'll read this here.
I put the moth into an unheated room for a few days so that it got used to the colder temperature and then I put it into the fridge in a plastic container with air holes. I added some leaves and moss and some fresh cauliflower leaves. So far it's doing fairly well and it has dropped into a torpor. It still moves when I touch it, but otherwise it's dormant. I intend to keep it in the fridge until the temperature outsideis about the same and there are not big temperature drops for a longer time to be expected (which will be in March, probably). The caterpillar eats a great variety of plants, which will make releasing it back into the wild much easier. Since it eats bramble leaves, I'll probably release it into a big thicket of those, it's a sheltered place and there will be some leaves even when not that much else has yet grown.