Caterpillar and...???

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Caterpillar and...???

Lizzie
saw this, whatever it is, under a leaf on our butterfly bush. i can only think that the poor thing resembles a caterpillar. it looks like a caterpillar with spider hatchlings? i can't tell quite what's happened here though.  

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Re: Caterpillar and...???

Bug Eric
The white fluff is a conglomeration of cocoons of parasitic wasps, something in the family Braconidae.  The caterpillar is doomed.
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Re: Caterpillar and...???

Lizzie
thanks for your quick reply Eric.  i forgot to mention that i live in the Netherlands.  coincidentally it was on the news here this evening that because of the warmer winter there's an increase in wasps this season.

are the wasps considered a pest or harmful and should the cocoons be destroyed?

i pretty much knew the caterpillar was doomed 😉
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Re: Caterpillar and...???

Lizzie
In reply to this post by Bug Eric
i also just remembered i saw a black-and-red ichneumon wasp yesterday in the garden. i'd never seen one before. could it have been what made the cocoons?