Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food on the Tree

The caterpillars are still there but their numbers have diminished dramatically. The original 400 or so are now down to 10 or 20. I have seen some leaves nibbled up but it's nothing compared with the rest of the tree. Now that the ants have woken up I"m happy to see Formica, Crematogaster, and Camponotus species all roaming around the tree. Mostly they're sipping at the fresh sap from the newly emerging leaves. Though I haven't seen them going after the caterpillars I can't say that I've seen any caterpillars outside of their protective tent. I have not been able to get a good picture of any of the ants on the tree. Mostly Formica are all over it in the day, and Camponotus replace them at night. Crematogaster only have a forager now and then, but nothing special.

A wasp was also probing over the tree and attacked the web a bit. One caterpillar on the outside was attacked but then ignored. Probably to small of a meal. The wasps know where the nest is though so they'll be back to get any of the big ones.

The end result so far is besides a few flowers, less than 10, of probably 200 blooms these caterpillars haven't done any damage. I don't know if the cold night we had will effect the fruit at all. Assuming the frost didn't effect the bloom I don't see any reason why I won't get some fruit. Though it wasn't the most impressive bloom in the forest I saw Honey Bees and a few species of Mason Bees working the flowers.