While digging under the cover crop in my veggie garden, I found a number of crysalis (crysali? cocoons?) and wondered what they were. Were they beautiful butterflies or damaging nasties? I took them to "The Bug Guy", David Pehling at the WSU extension office. [Aside: What a wonderful resource your local extension office is for so many things. Be sure to check them out, either online or in person for a wealth of free information and expertise.] He thought it was a cutworm (a nasty bug) but wanted to be sure, so he took the time to RAISE MY COCOON TO ADULTHOOD--how wonderful! Anyway, I got an email from him stating that it's a new insect in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, it's a nasty pest insect, but still, I feel so proud. Here's what he said.
"Eric LaGasa, Chief Entomologist at WSDA tentatively identified it as a recently introduced foreign species, “The Greater Yellow Underwing”, Noctua pronuba. This insect is a potential pest of several crops and ornamentals as the larvae have a very broad host range including: strawberry, potato, tomato, beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, grape, Anemone, carnation, Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, marigold, primrose and also assorted weeds and grasses."
"The Greater Yellow Underwing", Noctua pronuba.
There's really no way to get rid of it other than hand-picking the larvae, or using BT. So, I guess I'll just have to put up with it. It is beautiful though, so that's a consolation.