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Where Do You Find Caterpillars

by Heather Whitney 3 months ago in Nature
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In your garden? Let's see...

The key to finding a caterpillar is to become familiar with the various types of plants that female butterflies choose to lay their eggs on in your area. Once you've identified certain "host plants," you can look for caterpillars native to your area in the leaves and blooms of those plants.

You could even wish to grow some host plants in your own yard to attract caterpillars and butterflies.

What are Caterpillars and Where Do They Come From?

If you've ever come across a caterpillar outside, you've undoubtedly been enchanted! They're adorable! Check out how fuzzy it is! It has fluffy tiny legs! Even the bite marks that it leaves behind are adorable! You think to yourself, "Caterpillars aren't scary at all," which is unusual thinking to have at the time. Then one morning, you wake up to discover a caterpillar staring at you from inside your cereal dish. Everything that was once cute is now terrifying—that fuzz!

It's easy to overlook the fact that every caterpillar is the larval stage of a moth or butterfly. Caterpillars are hungry after they emerge from eggs laid by their adult moth or butterfly counterparts.

During the caterpillar stage, moths or butterflies do all of their serious eating. To gain the energy needed to enter the pupal stage and metamorphosis, the larvae must eat continuously. Caterpillars are found in over 100,000 species and come in a diverse range of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Caterpillars grow quite quickly, necessitating constant feeding. Caterpillars must molt 3-5 times to reach the pupal stage. Caterpillars of all kinds prefer to find their way and stay close to home. Garden plants, trees, and shrubs are all common infection areas.

Types of Caterpillars

Are you seeking a specific caterpillar, such as a monarch caterpillar for a school project, or are you looking for any caterpillar? Some caterpillars are generalists, meaning they eat a wide range of plants, whilst others specialize in a single plant.

Monarch butterflies, for example, lay their eggs on milkweed plants because their caterpillars (also known as larvae) eat exclusively milkweed. Swallowtail caterpillars, on the other hand, eat a variety of carrot-related plants such as Queen Anne's lace and dill.

Searching for Caterpillar

Learn about the different varieties of butterflies that exist in your area.

Knowing this can help you identify which host plants to look for while looking for caterpillars that hatch from the eggs laid on plant leaves by butterflies.

Understand the various types of host plants.

Learn how to identify the host plants of the butterflies that are local to your area. Images and descriptions of the plants can be found online or in books, and you can even get a smartphone app.

Learn how to identify different varieties of caterpillars.

Caterpillars differ in appearance depending on which butterfly species they came from or will become. They can be vividly colored, hairy, spotted, thin, or plump, for example.

Make sure the season is correct.

Each year, caterpillars can be found from early spring to early October; different butterfly species lay eggs at different periods. The trick is to figure out which butterflies are local to your area and then research when they are most likely to deposit eggs.

Look On and Below Plants

Hickory tussocks, webworms, and tiger swallowtails are examples of caterpillars that feed on tree leaves. Look on the outskirts of your yard – along hedgerows and forests if you have them – or on the trunks and branches of trees in your front yard to find these caterpillars. If you can reach a tree branch, gently shake it and then gaze at the ground beneath it.

Dandelions and plantains are low-growing plants that are commonly found among grasses in front yards, and caterpillars consume them. Look down on the ground for creeping caterpillars after you've peered up into towering trees and turned over the leaves of plants in your garden.

You might even see a caterpillar crossing your porch or driveway. In the spring and summer, look for monarch butterflies with vivid stripes, tussock species with fluffy fur, and swallowtails with smooth green skin. You'll find one of these caterpillars before it transforms into a butterfly if you're patient and watchful.

How To Handle a Caterpillar

Wash your hands.

Caterpillars are susceptible to bacterial illnesses and can become ill as a result of our contact. As a result, it's critical to wash your hands before handling caterpillars.

Be gentle.

Caterpillars must be handled with extreme caution since they are delicate and quickly killed. Make sure not to drop them because even a tiny distance can kill them.

Caterpillars should not be pulled.

Caterpillars attach tenaciously to the surfaces they walk on. If you try to pick up a walking caterpillar, its prolegs may be torn off. Allow a caterpillar to walk on its own to its new surface if you want to move it.

Caterpillars with branching spines should be avoided.

If a caterpillar appears to be spiky, fuzzy, or hairy, it may have a branching spine that will sting you if you pick it up. The majority of stinging caterpillars have vibrant colors.

How To Raise a Caterpillar into a Butterfly

Choose a container to house your caterpillar.

Many people prefer to leave caterpillars in their natural environments, but if you insist on bringing one home, make sure you have an appropriate container.

Fill the container with sticks.

These must be well connected and strong enough for caterpillars to crawl and pupate on. Many caterpillars hang upside down while pupating and emerge as butterflies after a while.

Give the caterpillar the right plants to eat.

Caterpillars will only eat certain plants, and this varies by species. If you can't find the same plant your caterpillar was on, figure out what type of caterpillar you have and feed it leaves from its optimal host plant.

Maintain a humid environment for your caterpillar.

Caterpillars prefer moist environments. If the cage appears to be dry, spray it with filtered or distilled water or rainwater gathered from the outside.

Every day, clean the container.

Caterpillars consume 200 times their body weight in food every day and produce a tone of trash known as "frass." Otherwise, your caterpillar's surroundings will be dusty, moldy, and unhealthy if you don't clean the frass out of the cage every day.


If you prefer not to bring technological devices on nature walks, consider bringing a plant-identification book with you. This book can be purchased at most bookstores or borrowed from your local library.

We hope this post is helpful and useful for you, how to find a caterpillar and raise it into a beautiful butterfly.

If you have some comments or something to add we will be more than glad to hear you!


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Heather Whitney

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