Caterpillars on Desert Rose

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)July 29, 2007

Has anyone had caterpillars on their desert rose? The other day, I found a bunch of tiny orange ones just munching away. They had stripped the top leaves completely! I found out they are Oleander Caterpillars. There are far too many to hand-pick them. What is the best way to get rid of them?

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paul_dvorak(Florida 9a/9b)

I have had the oleander catepillars on my Adeniums. Adeniums are closely related to Oleanders so the catepillars find them tasty. Any garden Insecticide should work on them. I would not wait too long because they can strip the leaves from a plant in no time. Make sure to spray under the leaves also.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 10:53AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

You are right! The caterpillars were all over the undersides of the leaves. I used Safer insecticidal. Will I need to repeat in a few days?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 12:39PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

You sure will, more eggs could hatch out, those caterpillars will turn into butterfly's I use a Rose food with a pesticide included It goes into the soil, and I don't need to breath in anything. I would perfer natural however. Norma

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:40PM
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paul_dvorak(Florida 9a/9b)

They hide underneath the leaves. It would be only necessary to spray again if you see any more in a couple of days. If you or your neighbors have any oleander bushes, it would be a good idea to check them too.

The best way to handle this is to catch it early. If you notice any leaf drop or yellowing leaves, it is a good idea to check the undersides of the leaves for catepillars.

Other than an occasional infestation of oleander catepillars, I have never had any other problems with pests on my adeniums.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:44PM
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BEWARE of those caterpillars! Their sting is painful!!!! They attack all my adeniums like 3-5 times a year and strip them right now. I found my biggest tree is now covered in them. I never see them till they are about an inch long...and most of the leaves are damaged or gone. Once the leaves are gone, they dissapear. I have never seen a crysalis with any of the darn butterflies in them...I dont know where they go..I'm just glad they go. I flick them off and smash them one by one! Squish!!!! Not to effective,but gets rid of that rage against them to see them die!! :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 7:59AM
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You can control the caterpillars with Spinosad. It is an organic herbicide that targets caterpillars and other sucking insects. There is some residual action for a week or two (I'm not sure how much). The residual action is what makes it superior to BT for caterpillars. Don't apply it in the full sun or in hot weather. I don't know if it is labeled for use on Adenium but you can check.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 3:25PM
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Nobody ever answered whether they turn into butterflies or moths. When I find caterpillars I don't want, I just flick them to the ground and let the lizards eat them. It is much fun watching the little lizards eat a nice juicy caterpillar. I don't know if they eat the orange ones, though.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 1:24PM
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They turn into polka dot moths.

Here is a link that might be useful: Polka Dot Moth

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:32PM
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