caterpillars yuck!

rnb68(8CA highdesert)August 13, 2004

I am truly a gardening newbie. I moved into a new home in April and planted daylilies, cannas, orientals and asiatic lilies. In our old apartment, the only thing I had growing were some plain white geraniums in pots. Bugs didn't ever seem to find them very appealing. I brought the potted geraniums to our new home. Last night when I was watering, I noticed that the geraniums had lots of holes eaten into them. Upon further investigation, I found several inch long green caterpillars to be the culprits. They don't seem to be interesting in eating any other the other plants...yet. I picked out the ones I could find and destroyed them:) My question is, is it only a matter of time before these little buggers start eating the other plants? Are geraniums known for attracting these types of bugs? Any suggestions? Don't really want to spray as the hummingbirds really like the other flowers. TIA for reading and any advice:)

Roseana

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

The only caterpillars that I've found to eat pelargonium leaves are the larvae of a small moth that curls up the leaves with silk webs. They aren't particular about what they eat.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 9:46AM
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Onion(z9b/15 Nor Cal)

Roseana,
I had those too. I saw in some book somewhere that they are a geranium-specific worm. They never ate anything else in my yard. The thing is, I've been picking the worms off for over a year now (I even was a bit obsessed, every day checking each flower cluster intensely). A few months ago I finally stopped seeing the damage and I thought I'd finally gotten all the worms. But then recently I started seeing a little damage again. ARG! So I hate to say it, but I'd throw away any new geranium I got with them, before I got too attached to it. But then again, maybe someone out there knows of a good solution that works. Good luck!

~Onion

    Bookmark   September 6, 2004 at 3:21AM
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Onion(z9b/15 Nor Cal)

Yup, people DO have a good solution - check out the thread linked below. I guess they're called Budworms.

I tried cutting off all the flower stalks as well. But I still kept getting them every now and then. I've seen the worms on the stems of leaves, too. I guess they have to find more flowers somehow.

Good luck!
~Onion

Here is a link that might be useful: Budworm thread in Gardenweb

    Bookmark   September 6, 2004 at 3:25AM
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JaneZ6NY

Those are budworms and I've been fighting them for more years then I care to remember. I've given up growing Geraniums for the last few years. I understand they are the small white moths you see flying around in the summer. Have tons of those. BT will work but it also kills the butterfly worms so I won't use it as I plant alot of flowers to attract them. Tried organic measures to no avail. Stopped growing geraniums for 3 years then tried again and they came back. I grow herbs in amoung my flowers in containers so I won't use poison. Good luck, I've had none getting rid of these pests. Jane

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 1:30AM
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