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Caterpillars

Symptoms

Shredded leaves caused by an infestation of caterpillars. In some cases, the leaves are completely decimated and the plant can die.

Find it on: just about anything
Time to act: early spring, summer

Overview

Hungry, voracious caterpillars can be found in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Some feed on fruits, roots and stems, but the likes of the cabbage white butterfly, hawk moth and winter moth feed on leaves. Although they may at first seem an attractive form of wildlife, large colonies can strip leaves bare.


Solution

Shredded leaves caused by an infestation of caterpillars. In some cases, the leaves are completely decimated and the plant can die.

Organic

Pick them off by hand and dispose of them, keeping a special lookout after dark. In the greenhouse or conservatory, you could use the biological control Trichogramma brassicae, which is a tiny wasp that targets caterpillar eggs.

Chemical

The moment you find signs of caterpillars, spray the plants with pyrethrum.




Discuss this problem

Talkback: Caterpillars
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2920312898 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Dear friends
Iam a new container gardener, and I love the blogs, and all the practital help. Why is it when I input my Welsh postcode it will not except it?
Thanks a lot.
Mrs Wurzelgummage older sister.

spottyhorse 24/11/2011 at 15:28

My geraniums have been badly attacked by green caterpillers,this is the first time it has happened,does anyone have any ideas hw to get rid of the little buggers!!!!!!!

spademansteve 24/11/2011 at 15:29

MY SPROUT LEAVES HAVE BEEN INVADED WITH CATTERPILLARS
AND ARE STRIPPING THE LEAVES. I HAVE 4 PLANTS SEPERATE FROM THE MAIN CROP AND I HAVE SLICED OFF ALL THE BIG LEAVES AND JET SPRAYED THE STALK AND YOUNG SPROUTS WITH WATER. WILL THIS DO ANY GOOD? WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT THE MAIN CROP?

deana harding 04/09/2012 at 17:57

hi just been down the alltoment and found aload for caterpillers on my cabbage and swede how do i get rid of them 

cowslip2 04/09/2012 at 18:48

Take a little time to squash the caterpillars. This is most important, but even more so is to keep a sharp look out for any, each and every day. Try and keep a sharp lookout  for a grey deposit on the leaves, and if you destroy this, there will not be any caterpillars.

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