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Stop Caterpillars from Munching Plants: Encourage Bees

A recent study has demonstrated that caterpillars have sensors for detecting wasps, a predator. These sensors will also warn them when bees are flying nearby, causing them to stop eating and/or drop off the plant entirely. It's a defensive mechanism that happens to be good for the bee because it keeps the caterpillar from destroying a plant in need of pollination.

[url=https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/science/30obbuzz.html]Article is in the NYTimes[/url].
Jürgen Tautz and Michael Rostas of the University of Würzberg in Germany conducted a simple experiment with pepper plants and beet armyworm caterpillars in two enclosed tents. A hive was connected to one of the tents, and honeybees flew around on their way to two sugar-solution feeders inside the tent.

After about two weeks, the researchers measured the amount of plant foliage eaten by the caterpillars. In the tent with the bees, they discovered, about 60 percent to 70 percent less foliage was consumed compared with the other tent.

SusanLouise
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Hmmmmm...interesting...
As everyone knows, the Cats turn into butterflies which also pollinate flowers too. I'm just glad I'm doing my part in saving the Cats by adding more host plants every year for the butterflies! Butterflies are wonderful and they can devour all of our plants! :D
I call it the circle of life. Another example is of feeding our backyard birds. Our neighbors think it's wonderful that we do...but as soon as a hawk comes by for a "Scooby Snack" all bets are off and they think we're terrible for letting a HOSP get "devoured" by a hawk...Good Grief! :roll:
All living creatures have to eat... :wink:
So I guess my picket sign would say:
Stop bees from harming butterfly caterpillars! :D

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Great points SusanLouise. :)

Encouraging birds is a great thing. Bird baths, bird feeders, throwing seeds out in the garden or lawn. My mother in law has a heated bird bath for the birds that hang around in winter back east. Do it consistently and they'll come back and hang around. Next thing you know, you have an ecosystem on your hands. :lol:

So I have a friend with a farm in his backyard. I was over his place last weekend for his son's first birthday and saw the bee enclosures out on the edge of his property and asked him about caterpillars. He paused, stared at the sky as he searched his brain for his experience with critters eating his plants and said, "I've never had a problem with caterpillars eating my plants. That's really interesting..."

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jal_ut
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Now that is interesting. I have plenty of bees in my garden because I keep bees. Come to think of it, I don't have much trouble with caterpillars. I can't say if there is any correlation.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/Package%20Bees/bees_11.jpg[/img]

A new package of bees crawl into the hive.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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