Misinformation: It’s Rampant on the Internet

Large Swallowtail caterpillar on leaves.
Image by Etienne GONTIER from Pixabay

Today, my husband and I had a three-hour drive stretching out in front of us. He is the driver. Since I can read, type on my computer, and look at my phone during our travels, I don’t drive as much. As he puts it, since he cannot do all those other things, he might as well drive. He admits that he’s a little jealous. And I feel a little guilty. But, it’s how it works for us.

I go through periods of being very agitated by what I see on the internet’s social media sites. For example, today, there was a post on a naturalist page that set me off. I belong to some nature groups on Facebook. As I’ve written before, I think gardeners can be some of the rudest people around. They are so obstinant and firm in their (mostly) uninformed postings. It drives me nuts!

Back to the Post That Set Me Off

I was scrolling on my FaceBook feed when I saw a post on a naturalist page that showed six caterpillars on a piece of paper toweling and explained how they saw these “things” on their herb garden plants (specific herb not mentioned) and picked them off. The poster’s question was, “what are they?”

What?! I mean, WHAT????

Okay, let’s get this straight. You pick some insects off your herbs because you didn’t know what they were? You didn’t know whether they were good or bad? And you didn’t pick off just one but you picked off six!

As I looked more closely at the photographs, I knew what they were. There were six swallowtail caterpillars or larva (the scientific name for caterpillars).

But it was the next thing that happened that really got my dander up. People were identifying them as monarch caterpillars. No, people, they weren’t. Not even close. Why would you post what you thought they were if you really didn’t know? People are spreading misinformation. Maybe they sincerely thought they were monarch caterpillars but after the first person that posted that was corrected, others kept doing the same. Why?

Well, the posters aren’t reading. They post and run. The misinformation is posted and even if corrected, it’s not seen by the offending party. They are long gone.

Swallowtail and monarch larvae do not look like each other. Anyone who has any…

Carol Labuzzetta, MS Natural Resources, MS Nursing

Environmental educator with a passion for teaching youth using the science of awe. Traveler, Photographer, Author, Wife, Mother. Top Writer & Boosted Writer x3