Gardeners should encourage caterpillars to their garden, as they can provide many benefits for the garden and are also fun for children, according to Kate Bradbury, who writes for Gardeners’ World magazine.
“If the sight of a caterpillar has you reaching for the bug spray, maybe it’s time to change your outlook,” she said. “Rather than seeing them as pests hell-bent on destroying your lovingly nurtured plants, look on them as a sign of a healthy garden ecosystem, the future generation of butterflies and moths as well as food for baby birds.
“What’s more, caterpillars can also be used to engage your children with nature, and make a great project for the coming school holidays.”
Ms Bradbury added that gardeners should familiarise their children with the life cycle of caterpillars.
“Most egg laying occurs between spring and summer, though some species spend winter as a caterpillar or chrysalis, and complete their lifecycle the next spring,” she said.
“Any caterpillars you find at this time of year will probably do this, but if your children care properly for their pets between now and spring, and then watch the majestic emergence of a butterfly or moth, they’ll be hooked on nature for life.”