Caterpillars can do severe damage to plants. They bite, eats leaves, fruits and damages plants. If the infestation is high, then it can be perilous. So getting rid of them is very important.
So, how to get rid of caterpillars on plants? Here is the full list of the techniques that you can use to get rid of caterpillars from plants
- Electric Power Washer
- Chili Spray
- Use Soap Water
- Organic Bacteria (Bacillus Thuringiensis)
- Use Your Hand
- Use Neem Oil
- Use Pyrethrin
- Cover Your Plants
- Companion Plants
Continue reading to know them in details.
Brief Info About Caterpillars
There are 175000 butterflies and moths discovered so far, and caterpillars are the early stages of them, so there are 175000 caterpillars. Some caterpillars have hairs, some are transparent, some caterpillars are just green. They have various kinds of designs and patterns.
Their size, structure, hosts plants all of these vary a lo, but they have one thing in common, i.e. high infestation of caterpillars can damage your plants, trees and your entire crops. So, controlling the number is very important.
Damage Caused By Caterpillars
Caterpillars cuts through plants leave. They give a very prominent sign which is a bite mark on the leaves. You can easily identify if you see them. Caterpillars can destroy your leaves and plants. So, you need to take appropriate steps in proper time to protect your plants from getting damaged. They can also lay eggs on the leaves. You need to remove those eggs beforehand so that the infestation doesn’t increase.
Poisonous And Dangerous Caterpillars
There are many poisonous caterpillars. One common characteristic of toxic caterpillars is that they have spikes on their body. These hairs are poisonous. They have this poison from the moment they are born. So, don’t think that they can’t harm you just because they are small. These spikes break when someone touches it and then the poison is released.
They lose this poison sting once they evolve into moth or butterfly.
Here Are The Names Of Few Venomous Caterpillars
1. Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar
These caterpillars look like they are made of wool, and they look cute. People make mistakes and catches them bare hand and gets stung. These caterpillars have hidden stings in their spines, and when someone tries to catch them, it stings and releases the poison.
The poison can create various kinds of symptoms like vomiting, nauseousness, dizziness, palpitation, abdominal pain etc. Some people can also have allergic reactions to their sting, and that can create serious problems. If someone is stung by these caterpillars, then immediately take the person to a doctor regardless of the symptoms.
You can see them around fruit-bearing plants, around ornamental shrubs and in few species of shade trees. They are clearly visible, and anyone can easily avoid them. Still, people get tempted because of their cute look and then gets in trouble.
2. Io Moth Caterpillar
Io moth (Automeris io) has a green color body. They have a red and white line running through the lower region of their body. This color makes it easy to identify them. Several small spikes come out of their body. These spikes are poisonous. Their sting feels like a hornet bite, which is very painful.
It can create a burning sensation, and these spikes break and stick to the victim’s body. You can find them around hackberry, willow, blackberry and pear trees. If you see them don’t touch them, they pupate on the ground so a person can accidentally step on to them which can be dangerous. Best way to avoid this situation is to wear shoes.
If your garden has Io moth caterpillars then definitely wears shoes.
3. Monarch Caterpillar
Monarch caterpillars have stripes all over their body, and they look beautiful. They have white and yellowish stripes all over their body. It can be 4.5 cm long and if feeds on milkweed. Milkweed is a poisonous plant, and this caterpillar consumes them which makes them toxic. That poison doesn’t affect them but can someone who tries to eat them.
Predators can fall sick if they consume these caterpillars or somehow comes in contact with the poison. They are colorful and looks attractive, that’s why kids can consume them which can become fatal. Make sure to look after your kids if monarch caterpillars are there in nearby places. They look like moving candy.
4. Bag Shelter Caterpillar
This is one of the most poisonous caterpillars. They have sting all over their body. You should avoid coming in contact with these caterpillars.
If someone accidentally touches this caterpillar, then they will start bleeding immediately and sometimes that bleeding can lead to death. These caterpillars mainly feed on acacia (wattle tree). They can come in numbers and can be difficult to stop. These spikes can also stick to soft surfaces.
If you see them in your garden, then use a vacuum cleaner or some other device to get rid of them. Don’t use your hand because if accidentally you come in contact with the spike, it can become dangerous. These spikes are sharp and can even get into your skin even after they get detached from the caterpillar’s body.
5. Buck Moth Caterpillars
Buck Moth caterpillars look dangerous, and you should also avoid them at all costs. These caterpillars have spikes all over their body, and when touched, they can sting. This sting can create a severe allergic reaction and extreme pain which is not something anyone wants to experience.
6. Saddleback Caterpillar
Saddleback caterpillars have unique designs on their body. This design makes it easier to identify them. Saddleback caterpillars have very bright colours (mostly green) saddle-like structure on their body.
They have spikes all around their body. If someone accidentally touches them, then it can create swelling and pain in that particular spot. They are not lethal, but the sting can be painful. Some people can also have severe allergic reactions.
7. Pine Processionary Caterpillar
Pine processionary caterpillars are one of the most poisonous caterpillars which can cause neurosis on dogs. If a dog accidentally licks it, then it can become dangerous for the dog. Their body is covered in spikes, and it’s an obvious sign to avoid them, but since dogs are curious creatures, they can try to eat them.
If you see these in your garden or near your house and if you have pets or kids, make sure to get rid these caterpillars. They can also cause severe allergic reactions in people who touch them.
There Are Four Types Of Caterpillars:
Foliage feeders are seen to consume leaves. They become more dangerous as they grow old. Foliage feeders can do severe damage to plants because they consume those leaves viciously. The only good thing about foliage feeders is that they only attack specific plants.
If that plant is present in your house or garden, then you need to take extra measures to get rid of them. Foliage feeders also eat flowers and fruits.
Cutworms are also very dangerous. They come out at night and eats vegetables and leaves. This is problematic because you won’t be able to spot them during the day when you are supposedly looking for them.
So, if you see cut marks and holes in leaves and vegetables and you cannot see any caterpillar in the morning then remember it can be cutworms. You need to check them at night and get rid of them.
Leafrollers as the name suggest folds the leaves and tie them with silk. This is very damaging to the plants. Leaf rollers are often transparent in colour and can attack in numbers. Fortunately, they only eat a particular type of plants. They can damage plants to a great extent, thereby killing the plants if not treated on time.
Sometimes moths lay their eggs near bark which is damaged, and so the larvae grow within the trees. They can do extensive damage to the trees by tunneling, making them dry and eventually killing them. The branches, stems can fall down as the tissue won’t have enough strength to hold the weight, and it can become dangerous to nearby people.
These moths only lay eggs inside trees as they need enough space for the larvae to grow. They won’t target small plants because there is not enough space.
Here Is The List Of Few Ways To Get Rid Of Caterpillars
Pesticides are one of the most common chemicals used to get rid of caterpillars. You need to spray these pesticides appropriately. An excessive amount can be harmful as this kills useful pests along with harmful pests.
2. Electric Power Washer
An electric power washer is also effective against getting rid of caterpillars. It is a machine that emits water with high pressure and speed. It has enough power to make caterpillars fall from plants. Just spray it directly over the caterpillars and that will do the job.
This water sprayer won’t damage your plants if you use it carefully. You will see the effects immediately. Caterpillars will start falling off the moment the water hits them. It’s better to use a electric power washer because caterpillars can be sticky and conventional water sprayer won’t be enough to get rid of them. Keep a distance of 1.5 meters while spraying because plants can be sensitive.
You can check out our recommended electric power washer on Amazon.
3. Chili Spray
Chili, as you know, has a very strong flavour, so make a combination of chili with water and soap to get rid of caterpillars. Here is how to make the solution.
- Add two teaspoon of chili powder in 500 ml of water.
- Add a little liquid soap.
- Put it in a sprayer and spray it directly on the caterpillars.
If you don’t have chilli powder in your house, then you can try this
- Grind 4-5 chilies
- Mix it well with 500 ml of water
- Put it in a sprayer
- Add some liquid soap
- Shake it well and spray it directly over the caterpillars
Both of these solutions are equally effective and will help to get rid of caterpillars fast.
4. Use Soap Water
Soap water is effective against caterpillars. It’s simple to make, and soap is available in everyone house. You can make it in two ways. If you have liquid soap in your house, then you can use liquid soap. But if you don’t have liquid soap, then you can use regular bar soap.
Here Is How To Use It:
- Just put 3-4 drops of liquid soap in 500 ml of water
- Shake it well
- Put it in a sprayer and spray it directly over caterpillars.
- Just add little water in your bar soap
- Rub the bar soap
- Put the foam water in a sprayer
- Add 500 ml of water
- Spray it directly over caterpillars
This solution won’t kill caterpillars but will make the surface slippery, and the caterpillar won’t be able to grip that place and will fall. You can keep a net below the plants so that when the caterpillars fall, you can capture them and throw them away. This solution is simple, non-toxic and harmless.
You can make this solution in larger quantities if you have a big garden and spray it all over the plants. Target the places where you see caterpillars, and spray it. Caterpillars will start falling immediately. Once you see, there are no caterpillars left you can stop spraying and get rid of the caterpillars. The amount of soap you’ll need is proportionate to the amount of water you’ll use.
Here Is How To Calculate It
If you are using 25 litres of water, then put 300 ml of liquid soap or 3 bars of bar soap and so on. If you are using 50-litre, then put 600 ml of liquid soap or 6 bar of soaps. This will make a lot of foam and will be very slippery. The more slippery it is, the better it is.
5. Organic Bacteria (Bacillus Thuringiensis)
Organic bacteria are also effective against caterpillars. These bacteria are found in soil, and these bacteria are harmful to soft-bodied pests like caterpillars. These bacteria make specific proteins that are toxic to some pests when consumed. Fortunately, it doesn’t show any side effects on humans so you can safely use it.
It’s simple to use. Just put this on all those places where you see caterpillars, and they will die. Organic bacteria directly affects their digestive system, and they stop consuming food which leads to their demise.
Checkout our recommended Organic Bacteria (Bacillus Thuringiensis) on Amazon.
6. Use Your Hand
Just wear thick gloves and remove caterpillars using your hand. Don’t attempt to remove them by bare hands because that can create a lot of problems. If you have a small garden or if caterpillars are infesting your house plants, then you can use this remedy.
There is no extra cost apart from the gloves. Just make sure caterpillars doesn’t touch any part of your skin as it can create itching and allergic reactions.
7. Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is very effective against various kind of pests. It’s a natural repellant. Neem oil is said to work against 200 different types of pests. It doesn’t have any side effects, and it’s entirely safe for use. All you have to do is simply buy neem oil online or from your local market, mix it with water.
Add 7 drops in 250 ml of water or add 14 drops in 500 ml of water and so on. Directly spray it over the plants to stop it from getting infested and spray it directly over caterpillars to get rid of them.
8. Use Pyrethrin
Pyrethrin is natural pesticides that you can use to get rid of caterpillars. Pyrethrin is not effective against all kinds of pests, but it works well against caterpillars. Just spray it directly over the caterpillars or spray in the plants where you think caterpillars can infest and your job will be done.
9. Cover Your Plants
You can cover your plants using plant covers that you can buy from online stores, and that will stop the caterpillars from infesting. They are made of heavy-duty polyethylene and can last for a long time. These Caterpillars will get on the plant covers but won’t be able to get on the plants.
These are cheap, but you may need to buy in large quantities if you have a big garden.
10. Companion Plants
Companion plants also work well in keeping caterpillars away. These companion plants are lavender, peppermint, sage plants. These plants don’t harm your garden but repel caterpillars. They smell great and is a natural remedy to get rid of caterpillars. Depending upon the infestation you need to plant these plants. Caterpillars infest specific species of plants.
First find out what species of caterpillars are infesting the plants and then plants lavenders, peppermint plants over there. That will repel them. You can purchase these plants online or from your local nursery. If you have a big garden, then it can be quite expensive.
This is a simple yet effective remedy.
Welcome to my blog. I have been doing pest control for years since my house, garden and pets were always attacked by various kinds of pests and as a result I had to know proper pest control techniques that works. In this blog I share all the tips and tricks that I know and I hope you’ll find it helpful.