Rhodo, catterpilar damage
I have a 3 year old R. Edgeworthii (Sp?) It is planted in well drained soil in a tree stump in the "Mediterranean climate" of Victoria BC (Zone 7) It has taken a couple of years to settle in and is now putting on good growth. (No flower buds yet)
However, for the first time, over the past couple of days, it is being attacked by small green caterpillars that initially roll themselves in the leaves then eat voraciously. They are thin, plain green and sized between a tiny 3mm to a max size so far is about 1cm (1/2 inch), not the "Inch-worm" types and do let themselves down on threads when dislodged.
They are eating the new leaves as they emerge and grow, leaving the under-leaf fuzz rolled up.
So far I have squished all I find each day. I will be going away for a week very soon and dread giving them free reign. Is there anything that I can do now and anything I can do to avoid the problem in the future?