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What does the pest look like?
Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. They have soft, segmented bodies with a head, thorax and abdomen. The thorax contains three pairs of jointed legs that have hooks and the abdomen has five pairs of stumpy legs. Caterpillars are often the same color as the leaves so they are hard to spot.
Cutworms: the adults are gray to dark brown moths with wingspans of 1.25 to 1.75 inch(3 to 4.5 cm). The caterpillars grow to 1 to 1.5 inch(2.5 to 3.75 cm) ranging in color from brown to pink, green, gray and black. Eggs vary widely by species that are usually laid on the stems or upper sides of leaves.
Cabbageworms: The adult gray-brown …show more content…
You 'll know leave-eaters and cabbage worms by the large holes that they leave in the plants leaves. The size of the holes indicate caterpillar damage and not that of smaller pests. Cabbageworm also feasts on fruit, flowers and vegetables: a fruit or flower that turns brown and wilts may house a cabbageworm consuming it from within. Cutworms are perhaps the most obvious of all caterpillars: plants damaged by cutworms are literally chewed through at the soil line, causing the plant to topple, seedlings and young plants are completely consumed.
Corn borers attack mature plants because they need a stem large enough to hold their bodies. They lay eggs in clusters on the leaves. After hatching, they eat the leaves around the eggs for two weeks to a month, leaving close clusters of tiny holes. To catch borers early, look for the small holes. Later in the season look for small holes in the plant stalks, possibly covered with a thin silky webbing. After borers have been at work for a while they sometimes cause the stalk to develop "fusiform galls." These are bulges in the plant stalks that widen in the middle and taper at both ends. The borers may leave visible trails on the stalks leading to the …show more content…
Cover stems with aluminum foil above and below the major branches and apply a layer of tanglefoot or similar sticky product to the foil. These barriers block Caterpillars moving along the stems. Turn the soil before planting, especially in the spring, and destroy overwintering larvae and pupae.
Corn borers: destroy stalks and other plant debris after harvest.
Quite a few nontoxic and least-toxic methods can be used to eliminate caterpillars.
If you have only a few plants the easiest way to control caterpillars is physically destroying them. If you spot caterpillar damage you can usually find the caterpillars within about 10 inches(25 cm) of the damaged area. Raking the soil down to about 2 inches(5 cm) often covers them. Other caterpillars can be shaken off plants or hand-picked. A spray of water from a hose washes away and drowns caterpillars, a vacuum cleaner can remove them as well.
BTK or BT is a living bacterium, which the caterpillars ingest. These bacteria sickening caterpillars and certain other pests that are harmless to humans and pets once the caterpillars ingest the germs they stop eating and die within a short time. When they die they release new generations of bacteria that are hungry for Caterpillar. The insecticide should be used at the first sign of caterpillars. Also