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 Caterpillars! Please help

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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 11:38 am

We've had an explosion in the caterpillar population in the last 2 weeks and they are wreaking havoc on my plants! My new hostas are growing nice and fast but the caterpillars are destroying all the new growth. They are also attacking my two Magnolias with a vengeance. Really they are eating everything in my yard and garden and destroying my precious plants.

Can anyone please suggest something (a product?) that will keep caterpillars from eating my plants but won't harm the plants themselves?

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SabakaMom
Senior
Senior
SabakaMom

Female Join date : 2011-02-10
Location : Virginia

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 12:01 pm

Oh no! Are they dark with a white stripe down the middle of their backs? If so, they are the tent caterpillars. They are the ones that come in hoards! I think you should be able to find their "nest" in a tree or bush nearby. From what I understand, they will be working (feeding) from out of that nest. The nest is a spider-web-looking tent beginning to be woven in the fork of a tree somewhere near your yard. (You see these webby nests often on the sides of the highways hanging in the trees around here in the spring. I'm only assuming these pests exist in Charleston.) If you can remove or treat the nest, you may get rid of the ones eating your plants. I have no problem using some product from Lowe's or another garder shop on non-edible plants. Especially if the nest is high in a tree where an animal or kid will not be messing with it after I treat it. If you want to go organic, I've heard BT dust is good for caterpillar treatment.
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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 12:19 pm

I just did an image search for "tent caterpillars" and yes, I have those! I also have tons of little green things that look like green inchworms, they are everywhere and can often be found hanging from a web-like string. So far I've been killing all the green inchworm looking things, they're even eating my rose flower petals! All the tent cats I've been removing and placing them in trees in the woods behind our house.

I've never had this problem before but then again this is the first time I've ever lived on a property that connects to woods. I have not found any webs or nests and am regularly inspecting my plants for caterpillars. My best guess is they are living in the woods behind our house and crawling into my yard. That would explain why the plants in my backyard (backing to the woods) are heavily affected while the plants in my front yard seem to be doing okay...so far.

I am going to make a run to Lowe's tomorrow to see if I can pick something up like BT dust or spray. We'll see what they have available. I can also check if they have a red trailing verbena while I'm there. Twisted Evil

I haven't been killing the tent cats because I didn't know what they were or what they'd turn into eventually.

Thanks a million, Lisa, you're so helpful!!!

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cmanding
Nutrition Subject Moderator
cmanding

Female Join date : 2010-10-12
Location : Denver, CO

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 12:24 pm

Dang caterpillars!!
LEAVE HER GARDEN ALONE!!!
She's worked SO hard!!

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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 12:26 pm

Laughing You'd think they would give a new garden a break! No, they've got fresh meat (er, plants) to harvest. Evil little creatures...I am bound and determined to have the last laugh though. *evil laugh* Razz

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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 12:28 pm

Okay another question, will something like the BT dust/spray work on inchworms too? Or would I need a different product?

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SabakaMom
Senior
Senior
SabakaMom

Female Join date : 2011-02-10
Location : Virginia

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 1:21 pm

I don't know anything about inchworms. Crying or Very sad
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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 3:31 pm

No worries, I will probably do a little searching online for information and will talk to the people working at Lowe's for advice while I am there.

Edit to add: After doing a little searching BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) WILL work on inchworms and control their populations. Lowe's better have some BT in stock!

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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyFri Apr 01, 2011 3:40 pm

Lowes didn't have any BT products. Sad

I asked for help from the employees and they sent me home with Bayer Advanced Complete Insect dust. The label says it takes care of caterpillars and inchworms.

Dusted all my plants with it this afternoon...hopefully it works. Neutral

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Becky
Puppy
Puppy
Becky

Female Join date : 2011-05-09
Location : Upstate NY

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyWed May 11, 2011 3:12 pm

Val,

How did you make out? Are you tsill having issues?

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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyWed May 11, 2011 4:55 pm

Nope, after that first application the cats stayed well away from my plants. A few weeks later I did see some minor additional caterpillar damage but nothing overly concerning. The cats are really leaving my plants alone and staying in the woods where they belong.

Now I did see a large increase in beetles a couple weeks ago that were eating my roses. They were eating the flower buds before they even had a chance to open. I have no idea what kind of beetles they were, all I can tell you is that they were black with dashed white lines going down the back. I went ahead and applied the same product that I used for the cats, Bayer Advanced Complete Insect dust, about a week ago and I haven't seen another beetle on my rose bushes since then.

Are there other alternative methods or products that you would recommend for the future?

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Becky
Puppy
Puppy
Becky

Female Join date : 2011-05-09
Location : Upstate NY

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu May 12, 2011 12:07 am

There are so many different types of beetles that they are hard to keep up with. If it had really long atenae it was probably an asian long horn. Short antenae a gibbula comes to mind but I was under the impression that they were more southwestern. Regardless, Neem is pet friendly and great for all landscape damaging insect from aphids to beetles to army worms and lace bugs. Avoid hanging those beetle bags. Yes they do trap and kill them but what they actually do is release a pheramone(probably mis-spelled that) into the atmosphere that pulls all the beetles in your neighborhood into your property.
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Huskyluv
Resident Nutritional Bookworm
Huskyluv

Female Join date : 2009-06-23
Location : Huntsville, AL

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PostSubject: Re: Caterpillars! Please help   Caterpillars!  Please help EmptyThu May 12, 2011 11:24 am

Thanks for the tip!

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