More Insects of Summer

Hydrangea leaves with leaftier caterpillar inside

Here’s an insect that’s very easy to find and very easy to deal with.

Inside this crumpled up set of leaves is yep, you guessed it, another green worm. Hard to imagine that the world is so full of green worms, isn’t it?

This guy is called the hydrangea leaftier–kind of a crazy name, leaftier. Maybe it sounded like leaf-tyer to whomever came up with it. For you scientific types, it is Olethreutes ferriferana. Anyway, as you can clearly see by the photo, that’s what this little worm does–it sews itself into a little cocoon of hydrangea leaves–almost always near the top of hydrangea arborescens, or smooth hydrangea plants.

What’s lovely about this insect is that to deal with it, you just cut off the little clump of sewn together leaves and dispose of them in the trash. Don’t compost them or you will give the little worms time to hatch out into the moths which they become and start the whole vicious cycle all over again–because once you have these things, you have them forever unless you manage to rid yourself of them early.

And in addition to marring the appearance of your plants, why do you want to go around cutting off your leaves–or better yet, peeling open the leaves and smashing the little caterpillars, for those of you who like that sort of thing–every year? I know I have enough to do in the garden in the spring without that, thanks!

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