We have thousands of caterpillars here again this year. We had quite a few last year on one of the willows at the bottom of the garden, but this year we have several collections of them on both willow and hawthorn. The build a little nest of silk and feed on these plants.
As a moth recorder then this is of course good news. As a gardener it is good too as I’m trying to create a wildlife friendly garden that looks nice. Lots of caterpillars means lots of moths and butterflies and lots of food for birds and such like too. I’m not so sure how useful it is that many of these caterpillars have taken up residence immediately above our new raised bed for vegetables though!
As far as I can tell they are caterpillars of the Lackey Moth (Malacosoma neustria) which fly during July and August, so I’m expecting lots of these in our moth trap later in the year.