Caterpillars are the larval stages of moths and butterflies and when we find them chewing on plants in garden.
Caterpillars can cause damage to plants in many ways:
- Leaf chewing caterpillars (e.g. Loopers, Heliothis, Diamondback moth and Cabbage white butterfly)
- Leaf miners (e.g. citrus leaf miner and potato tuber moth)
- Leaf rollers (e.g. light brown apple moth)
- Caterpillars that bore into fruit and nuts (e.g. coddling moth and macadamia nut borer)
- Stem boring caterpillars (e.g. fruit tree borer)
They can be serious garden pests, depending on the species. They can be smooth or fuzzy, dull or bright. Caterpillars shed their skin as they grow, until they're ready to pupate. At the end of the pupa stage, they emerge as either adult moths or butterflies.
How to identify caterpillar:
Caterpillars are soft bodied with different colors and some have hairs on their body.
They are the larval stage of different butterflies and moths.
They will measure maximum 2 inches in length.
Caterpillar’s feeds on plant leaves and one single adult caterpillar can feed 2 to 3 leaves per day.
Once they complete feeding on entire leaves, they start feeding on tender branches.
One of the important character of Caterpillars is that they come out for feeding leaves or braches at night hours and they hibernate (hide) in the soil during day hours.
Growing of trap crops like Marigold, Mustard, Sesamum, Chrysanthemum, Gingelly.
Spraying Ovicides a day before full moon and half moon day to control the hatching of eggs.
Keeping the garden clean and neat and need based watering for plants.
How to prevent and control caterpillar:
There is a huge range of naturally occurring beneficial organisms that help to keep moth and butterfly populations in check, attacking them in the egg, larval, pupal and adult stages.
Examples of these include:
1)Parasitic wasps and flies
3)Predatory bugs (e.g. damsel bugs, shield bugs and assassin bugs)
4)Bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens
5) Insectivorous birds and bats
If caterpillars are found, you can manually remove and kill them.
Losing of potting mix regularly will help you to identify the hidden caterpillars.
Spray Sasyarakshak @ 10 ml/Litre of water.
Always sow any one or two trap crop while sowing vegetable seeds.