by Eric Carle
In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.
One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and - pop! - out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.
He started to look for some food . I’m so HUNGRY!
And so the story goes...
I'm happy to report there are dozens of very hungry caterpillars who have popped out of their eggs to feast on our milkweed plants, which are literally crawling with them.
Plant it and they will come. I knew we were likely to attract monarchs with all the milkweed we've planted, but seeing is believing. I've taken to standing out beside the pollinator garden to watch them eat. (Yes, I need a life.) This is just one of the rewards of planting native specimens.
My big decision now is deciding if I leave them to fend on their own—or bring some of the caterpillars inside to boost their chances of avoiding death by ant, wasp or spider. Right now, with so many of them looking fat and happy, I'm leaning towards letting nature take its course.
Why fret over an insect? Sure, monarchs and other butterflies are pretty—but they're also functional. While feeding on nectar, they pollinate flowers. The Department of U.S. Fish and Wildlife began issuing warnings years ago, when it concluded that the number of monarchs had dropped from 1 billion to 33 million. The primary cause? Habitat loss.
The moral of this story?
Plant some milkweed. The butterflies will thank you.