It's time for a critter update!
First of all, our avocado plant -- granted, not really a critter. It's grown quite a bit since last September, despite sunburned leaves a few months ago. I pinched the top bud a while back to get it to branch, but so far, it has steadfastly refused to do so. I'm just going to let it grow however it wants to! Fulfill your inner nature, little avocado seed.
I mentioned some time ago that we had more caterpillars, presumably from Cabbage White butterflies, on our horseradish plant. But after eating voraciously, the caterpillars suddenly vanished. There was no evidence that they had pupated. I was mystified, so I examined the plant carefully yesterday, and found this last lone caterpillar.
As you can see, he doesn't look right. That's because he's been parasitized by another insect, perhaps a braconid wasp. That's the big ol' wasp egg growing out of the caterpillar. He's not long for this world. My guess is that's what happened to his compatriots too.
But we have a new crop of tiny, tiny green caterpillars munching minuscule holes in the fresh, new horseradish leaves. So the cycle of life goes on -- that plant is such a caterpillar magnet.
As I was photographing the caterpillars, a bee blundered noisily into a spider web hidden in one of our flowerpots. I didn't even know we had a spider, so I was happy to find her, though I don't think she's the same variety as Pat. The spider bit the bee, then vanished until the bee stopped struggling, when she reemerged and feasted.
I'm telling you, it's a rough world out there on our balcony!