Caterpillars on passion vine

toucan(9)September 9, 2012

I have tons on caterpillars on my passion fruit vines. They are decimating them. They are only attacking the "incense" variety and not my "Frederick."

I know they are going to turn into butterflies but I want them off. I have been picking them off with a stick, but hours later, many more turn up. It's the story of the very hungry caterpillar right here at my house. They start out really small and they get huge. I wonder if birds will eat them because I put them in the dry birdbath so the birds can have a snack.

My favorite passion vine is going to get wiped out by these. If you have a good solution, I would like to know.

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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

The birds aren't likely to eat the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars as they contain poison from eating the plant which has cyanide in it. You can spray the vine with bt. It only hurts the caterpillars. They will stop eating and later die.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Judy B! Good to see you!

My only solution to the cats are hand picking- and growing more passion vines! It's true that they can pretty much take the vine down to the nubs, but, oh - when you have those flocks of Gulf Frittilaries, you'll be so pleased you'll forget about the vine...!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 6:30PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

Hi Pagan, Good to see you, too. I have one vine that I'm babying for a bit until it gets big enough to grow more leaves than the cats eat. I pull them off. The other vines take their chances. Small sacrifice for having butterflies.

Hey, remember the big ol' green caterpillar I was 'awarded' at our first official get-together? I ran onto it the other day and thought of you. :-)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:32AM
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euqruob(Phoenix, AZ)

Same thing happened to me. I brought back seeds from Hawaii, planted in the greenhouse, moved them outside..and bang! Catepillars where I had never seen them. They don't eat Frederick or Edulus. I picked them off, squished them, and dusted the plants.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:58AM
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toucan(9)

Yes, they don't eat my Frederick at all. I wouldn't have minded the Frederick as much because that is sprawling about 25 feet across a trellis. My poor "incense" cost me a lot more and has beautiful purple flowers. I picked at least 30 of them off, came back in a few hours and more caterpillars were there. I picked those off and another few hours and there they are again. I finally remembered, I threw some DE (Diatomaceous Earth) on part of the plant, and haven't seen any more but it could have been the rain that wiped them off. The DE doesn't stick well to the plant so I might have to redust again.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 1:14AM
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