The Hungry Caterpillars

I sat down the other day for breakfast and turned to admire my roses, which were finally coming back, it seemed, and were happily climbing the poles I put in for them.

One of the rose bushes was gone.

Well, sort of - the stalk was still there, but all of the leaves were gone. And the top of the other bush was also gone. Both bushes were covered in little black and yellow caterpillars, hungrily chomping away. "Hey, leave my roses alone!".

They don't speak English, German, or Swedish. So I got a bowl and put some water in it and knocked them all off the bushes and took them down to the compost heap. Eat my nettles, I think they are very tasty!

Next morning, the one remaining bush is covered in caterpillars again. So I knock them off and dump them in the compost. Can they smell the rose leaves?

Next morning, ditto. I inspect the area around the roses and find the weeds and strawberry leaves filled with little black dots. Some are starting to squirm. So even before my coffee I get down and pull out all the offending leaves, knock off the few caterpillars that are still climbing, and take the whole mess down to the compost.

I am reminded of the book we used to read to WiseKid: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (sounds better in German: Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt).

Okay, so now I know what those butterflies were up to a few weeks ago around the roses. But how do I train them to just eat the weeds, not the flowers and my basil and marjory?

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