I take pride in making my prairie a habitat for wildlife. It is certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, a Best of Texas Backyard Habitat by Texas Parks and Wildlife, a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch, and a Bee Friendly Garden by Texas Bee Watchers. See the Links section for additional information about these certifications.
Butterflies and moths are some of my favorite wildlife visitors. I plant nectar flowers to feed the adult butterflies and moths and specific host plants to feed the caterpillars.
I spotted this colorful moth in my garden recently. It is a moth, although it is often mistaken for a bee or wasp. This is either Melittia calabaza or Melittia cucurbitae. I cannot determine the species from the internet photos and it really does not matter. The common name for this moth is Squash Vine Borer and that is enough identification for me. Squash Vine Borers lay their eggs on the stems of squash and related plants. When the caterpillars hatch, they burrow into the stems and can eventually kill the plants.
My wildlife habitat is also a human, Homo sapiens, habitat where I grow organic vegetables for my consumption. When an insect's feeding threatens to interfere with my feeding they better look out because I will be forced to assert my power as the dominant species in this habitat.
So what happens when I see a Squash Vine Borer in my garden? Warning: The following image may not be suitable for sensitive eyes or stomachs.
I squash them! At least when I can catch them. Unfortunately, a couple of others escaped my wrath on this day. If they know what is good for them, they will stay away from my squash plants because I love my grilled squash.