Control Caterpillars in Your Garden

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated February 26, 2021)

Caterpillars are very unique looking, with their furry backs and their many legs. Although they may not be the most attractive creatures, they are definitely better looking that many other things that could be in your garden. Unfortunately, while caterpillars may not be as gross looking as spiders or millipedes, they can still lay waste to your plants in a very short period of time. Even though there are many different types of caterpillars out there, all of them can be dealt with fairly easily in the exact same way.

The essential thing to do is to examine your plants often. You should be checking your plants regularly anyway to make sure that they are growing properly, but be sure as you inspect your plants to look for egg clusters and caterpillars. When you come across either of these, be sure to remove them by hand so they do not stick around in your garden to feast. Removing them by hand is the kindest way to deal with them, since it will not kill the caterpillars.

If removing caterpillars and their eggs by hand is too difficult, or if the caterpillars are attacking in droves, the only way to get rid of them is by using insecticide. If you decide to use this method, be sure to get the right kind of insecticide, otherwise you could do more damage than good. What you want to get is an approved 'organic' insecticide that includes derris, since only this will kill the caterpillars. This kind of insecticide is particularly appropriate if you are growing edible crops, because the plants can be eaten two to three days after application.

Other 'organic' pesticides include pyrethrum and the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis berliner, which is harmful to caterpillars but not to other insects. You should be able to find any of these insecticides at any store that has a good gardening center.

Derris and pyrethrum insecticides are available as dusts to treat soil or leaves that may harbor caterpillars. Dust infested plants as soon as you notice the grubs. If you apply it quickly enough, you should have no problem with caterpillars in your garden.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

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