Under siege by caterpillars!

wendync(7b)April 26, 2013

Hey there, so this is our first Spring in our new house and I have come across a problem in the backyard which borders the woods. There is some type of caterpillar out there in the thousands!

Seriously, at any given moment there are maybe 10-30+ caterpillars on each of the decorative plants out there. We have a waterfall and there are maybe 300 dead ones under the water. If you look up, you can see that all of the trees have had their lower leaves just destroyed. They are on every surface, the ground, the trees, all plants, rocks, everywhere!

What can we do about this!! I posted a pic of the culprits on an azalea that they have nearly killed.

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chas045(7b)

They look like the bag worm critters that usually are found in wild cherry trees. I haven't noticed them yet here in central NC. Perhaps I just haven't looked up much. Lots of folks get rid of those trees. You can also take a long stick and wrap up a web loaded with the critters and stomp it, poison it or burn it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:17PM
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esh_ga

Spray them off with a hose. Another name for caterpillars is "bird food". Think of all the hungry baby birds that these will feed.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:44AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

It's been a heavy year for them. The earliest instars went after the boxwoods and Japanese hollies previous year's growth but the new growth has covered all the early damage.
From the photo, looks like these loopers are about full size and soon will drop to the ground to eventually become the wingless female or the male and the cycle begins again.

Most of your plants will recover if they have well set roots.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:31PM
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trianglejohn

A flock of chickens would solve this problem in one weekend.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:22AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Mebbe hers but mine are 70-100 feet up raining down their poop.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:43PM
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esh_ga

How wonderful, dottie, for the birds migrating through your area as well as for the birds raising chicks in the nest.

The plants know very well how to survive this and the poop on the ground is just like slow release fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:13AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

esh, yup..pre-processed organic leaves..good for the earth but I'll still wear a hat.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 12:05PM
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