help white haired catterpillars

scarletaJuly 10, 2009

can not identify them? They are covered in white quite long hairs.found them when harvesting broad beans.Are these beneficial?can not find pictures on internet.thanks

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plantknitter(8)

seems early for fall webworm, but

Here is a link that might be useful: check this website

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:33AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Fall webworm isn't white. Has considerable color, this in spite of the impression gained from that one image.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:44AM
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scarleta

plantknitter:many thanks for the link.It looks like arcronniicta Cyanescens (noctuidae)
Now is it beneficial i have to google it out.
thanks jean for your input.
I shall google it out but from the picture it looks white fuzzy hair with white body.
cheers

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 3:05PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I was looking at google and it said this caterpillar feeds on Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush). Do you have that? I wonder if it feeds on other Ceanothus.

I'm watching the larvae for the Cinnabar moth which finally appeared on my tansy ragwort, which I allow to grow to be a host plant for them. This year I finally saw a Cinnabar moth flying around in the daytime. They are pretty. I also like the woolly bear caterpillar and it's moth, the Isabella Tiger Moth. And the Sphinx moth/ Tobacco Horn Worm, Swallowtail, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cinnabar moth

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:23PM
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scarleta

thanks hemnancy:what i have im pretty sure is acronicta cyanescens noctuidae.i found larvae in dark cool place among broad beans.i just have no luck to google and check if it is beneficial?waiting for more help please.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:36PM
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barbe_wa

My husband and I were just remarking today that while we're seeing lots and lots of tansy ragwort along the roads, so far we haven't seen a cinnabar moth. I hope they show up soon!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:54PM
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larry_gene

acronicta cyanescens certainly occurs in western Canada, but in dry upland subalpine forest. Not likely to be broadbeans up there.

There are thousands of noctuid moth species in western North America, probably hundreds in your locale. It can be hard to identify similar species.

It is a fairly distinctive caterpillar though, so your ID could be correct.

Noctuid moths in general are not considered beneficial, and can be a pest in some instances. If you see a lot of these caterpillars and then the powdery gray-winged adults later on and are getting a lot of holes in your plants, you may want to control them.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 12:40AM
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scarleta

larry_gene:thanks for helping out.

"It is a fairly distinctive caterpillar though, so your ID could be correct."
from seeing the picture it looked exactly like it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 1:09AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I wasn't suggesting yours was the Cinnabar moth caterpillar. They are smooth, with black and orange rings around their bodies. I just like to grow their host plant and watch them develope.

I suppose since most caterpillars eat plant parts they all have the potential to be detrimental to your plants, I like to allow the ones making pretty butterflies or moths live on my plants anyway. The Acronicta don't sound particularly pretty.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 4:09AM
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scarleta

I thank you all for helping me learn more. When my garden books and googling skills fail I can ask my friends here and always get help.Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:08AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Caterpillar id is tricky. Entomologists at UW working on a photographic guide to local lepidoptera are finding that caterpillars that appear identical are growing up to be entirely different species of moth or butterfly. They're rearing out caterpillars to the adult stage, the best way to identify caterpillars, and getting unexpected results!

I'm not sure what you're looking for when you ask if your caterpillar is beneficial. To what? all caterpillars eat plants. Some eat more than others and can be damaging pests. Some don't do much damage. Others are biological control agents for weeds, like the cinnabar moth mentioned above. Some grow up to be what we consider to be beautiful butterflies or moths. Some are endangered species, others are introduced pests. My rule of thumb would be, if you SEE it devouring your plants, it's probably a pest, otherwise leave it alone. But you must SEE it eating your plants and doing a lot of damage! not just sitting on them, or taking a couple bites only.

Not a lot of cinnabar moth adults out this time of year. The caterpillars, the tansy tigers, are very numerous right now. I've been seeing tansy plants entirely covered by tansy tigers for a couple weeks now. The adults laid the eggs that hatched into the caterpillars, and not many adults out right now. More later when the tigers mature. Tansy tigers are definitely beneficial!

Google is not necessarily the best source of scientific information. The Burke Museum at UW has a nice website for identifying native plants, and links to other scientific institutions for identifying other things like insects. But it isn't really necessary to get an exact identification on your caterpillar, you can watch it to see what it does, and enjoy it as is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Burke Museum of Natural History at UW

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:09AM
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scarleta

reg_pnw7 :great info here.I will use the link instead.you are right about google.
Many txanks

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 12:25PM
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scarleta

So I still have the caterpillars in the bucket and giving them greens to eat.They are becoming a bit darker. Would like to see what they grow into???
Do they turn into pupae in the winter?
Anyone has any tips?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:50PM
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larry_gene

They may turn into pupae or cocoons any day or week now. They may roll up into a leaf, or attach themselves to a stem or even the bucket surface.

Once this has happened, keep a screen over the bucket and store in a cool, dry place. Keep a few longer, bare stems of something in the bucket so the emerging adults can perch and let their wings form properly. They may emerge anytime from this fall to next spring. Check the bucket weekly, the adults may not live much longer than a week.

I did this a few years ago with some caterpillars chewing my calamondin (a citrus plant). They turned into orange tortrix moths.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:06AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I found one tansy ragwort plant just covered with large tansy tiger caterpillars today.:-)

Be kind to those wooly bear caterpillars, here is the gorgeous moth they become-

Here is a link that might be useful: Isabella moth

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 2:21AM
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scarleta

thanks for the tips. One of the caterpillars was gone next morning ? so I released the other one. Hope they both survived. Nice picture Hemnancy.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 11:06AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I love wooly bear caterpillars. Used to go to Oxbow Park to play with them. My father would even stop the car and pick them up off the roadway.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 3:35PM
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larry_gene

September/October are the best months for woolly bears on the march.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:42PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Well, I've been cutting off flower heads on my thistles before the seeds can start to blow, and noticed some signs of caterpillars on some, then eventually managed to locate a very small caterpillar that was hiding under some brown crud. It doesn't look like the thistle caterpillars on the internet but now I'm distressed over all the thistles I already cut down and feel like I should leave the remaining ones standing but continue to cut off any flowers that are produced. I found a couple of butterflies that could use thistle as a host plant for caterpillars, one was the Painted Lady, and I actually saw one today- or perhaps it was the Red Admiral, I didn't get a really good look. I do have a stand of stinging nettle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Red Admiral

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 4:40AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I kept googling and found out it is beetle larvae I've been seeing on the thistles. I guess I'll let the thistles stand and just cut off the flowers, to let them mature. I don't think they can have much impact on thistles in my yard though since they are not preventing them from going to seed.:-( I'd rather find the butterfly caterpillars but they are interesting little critters.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thistle Tortoise beetle

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 5:43AM
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