I went outside this morning to pick some of the many leaf lettuces I have in the garden only to find an infestation of Saltmarsh Carerpillars chomping away on the tender leaves. Funny thing is, they were only on the plants that were scattered among the tomato plants in my raised bed. I have at least 30 leaf lettuce plants in there and I picked off at least 20 of the offending critters and gladly disposed of them with the bottom of my shoe.
Apparently their digestive tract works very efficiently because every plant they were on was covered in what appeared to be droppings in clusters. Looks like "What goes in one end forces nasty things out the other end, simultaniously." Disgusting little critters.
Bad enough they are eating the lettuce, but they are also setting up house on the tomato plants. It's no small wonder why I like fall/winter gardening much more than spring/summer. I never have near the amount of pests or damage to winter crops.
To add insult to injury, they look to be of the type that will sting the bejesus out of you if you come in contact with the hairs on their bodies.
Well, soon it will be too hot for the lettuce to be there anyway. I'm sure it will bolt in the next week or two as our temperatures rise almost daily now.