mysterious green/yellow caterpillars

haplo_wm(7)May 8, 2009

I need help identifying and eliminating a current caterpillar infestation in my yard! I'm in northern Virginia, roughly on the border of zones 6 and 7, if that helps.

The caterpillars are small, typically half an inch to an inch long. They are speckled green and yellow and have a soft, non-furry body. There is no nest that I can see and they were spread pretty evenly throughout a bush next to my house for the last three days, as it's been raining non-stop. Today, however, was sunny, and they have left the bush and have spread all over two walls of my house and anything else in the way. They are everywhere.

I googled "green and yellow caterpillar" but, as you might imagine, got too many useless hits to find anything relevant.

Other interesting characteristics are that they seem to produce a silk thread which they hang from if they fall off the wall or branch. These threads are fairly strong and get stuck in my hands and hair.

The bush they were in (and have utterly decimated) had yellow and green leaves. I don't know the name for certain, but it looks a lot like the Emerald and Gold Euonymus in this picture:

The caterpillars don't seem to be eating anything else yet, but they are very close to my fledgling raised garden and I'm getting nervous for my peppers, tomatoes and squash plant.

Any help on identifying this caterpillar, determining if it's a threat to my garden, and advice on how to get rid of them?

I've been picking them off and dumping them into a container of soapy water and have liberally employed a "squishing stick" to inflict massive casualties, but there are just too many! I'm thinking that some chemical solution may have to be the answer.


Jeremie (Haplo_wm)

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Answer found!

It took a bit more searching, but it seems that I have an infestation of the Euonymus leaf notcher, Pryeria sinica. This is a new invasive pest from Asia, highly localized to Fairfax County, VA (where I live) and some parts of Maryland.

I found the information at: , but you have to go in the archives to April 13, 2009 to get the right week. (on the left, click on "bug of the week" and then click on "archives")

If anyone has run into these and has additional advice to give, I'd still love to hear it!


Here is a link that might be useful: bug of the week

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:45PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Attached is an image from Va. Tech. You might want to call your local extension office to find out what their recommendations might be for homeowners.

I suspect that insecticidal soap and Bt-K (Bacillus thuringiensis-Kurstaki) will be suggested, but only while the caterpillars are still very young. Won't do much at this stage.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 4:23PM
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