Something has been eating the hop plants, and now I know that it is this little guy, the caterpillar of the Hop Merchant Butterfly. The final product of all this destruction is an outrageously beautiful monarch, but this is my first time dealing with a member of the Limacodidae family up top, and I have the feeling that Ed Lawrence's pest management/dish soap spray isn't going to cut it when it comes to eradicating these athropods.
This guy knows a lot about dealing with hop pests, and if you want to see some extremely far out shots of caterpillars up close, go here. I did a lot of hand caterpillar picking yesterday, and cut back any hop leaves that looked even remotely colonized by eggs or caterpillars, so we will see how things go.
The most interesting thing I learned about this pest, besides its amazing name, was that it only feeds at night. During the day it will roll itself up in the hop leaf like a slumbering burrito of doom, and wait until evening to punch holes in things with its face in the pursuit of its future wings. Pretty freaking respectable. We will see who makes it through the summer in better shape, they, me or the hops themselves.