Yeah that is what I thought too when I read the name! We have been awaiting the emergence of monarch caterpillars. Recently while inspecting the milkweed plants I saw piles of tiny black poop on some leaves. A telltale sign of caterpillar activity. Imagine my shock when I found these instead!
Looking online for more information I found …
The furry milkweed tussock moth caterpillar looks like a tiny teddy bear covered in tufts of black, orange, and white. In their first three instars, milkweed tussock moth caterpillars feed gregariously, so you may find entire leaves of milkweed covered in caterpillars. Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars can defoliate a stand of milkweed in a matter of days.
The adult moth occasionally is observed on milkweed or dogbane, although you might not be impressed enough to notice it. The milkweed tussock moth has mouse gray wings and a yellow abdomen with black spots.
Mouse gray and yellow my foot! These ugly monsters are literally defoliating many plants and I am angry! Then Bob reminded me we have seen these before. Oh. I guess there is enough milkweed to provide for all of them. But WHERE are the monarch caterpillars?
Evidently, not here. Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar U G L Y
Meanwhile, the corn is fine and growing quickly!