Caterpillars rolling leaves on mexican oleander/lucky nut tree

bthughesSeptember 23, 2012

I have two Mexican oleanders, a yellow and a peach. They are vigorous, but suffer from hosting a caterpillar that rolls itself up in leaves with a web. Hummingbirds like the flowers. I want to eliminate this infestation with a minimal impact to the environment.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

we need an ID to figure out if they are actually a pest ...

if they arent..then removing them is harmful to the environment ...

but that said. what harm are they doing to the tree?? .. other than using a few leaves ...

in other words.. tell us how your tree is 'suffering' as you say ..

pix will usually get you an ID ...

ken

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:01AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

They are most likely the caterpillars of the very pretty mexican oleander moth, also called the satin white moth. How bad is the infestation? I'm not familiar with this particular plant nor this caterpillar. A very close relative, Nerium oleander, can be devestated quickly by its primary pest...also a caterpillar. I have no idea if yours behaves that way or not.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:09PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Depending upon how extensive the webbing is, disrupt/break with a stick. Then remove -- using fingers or tongs -- the caterpillars & drop into soapy water.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

How extensive is this infestation?
Squishing the larva in the leaf is one method of control with small populations. There are numerous insect predators of these leaf rollers that would be harmed more by any pesticide than the leaf roller would.
There is one moth that lays eggs on this species of Oleander that become larva that apparently defoiliate the tree with no long term harm to the tree.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, perhaps you are speaking of the Oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais. Who knows? If so, I can inform you that Nerium oleander can be stripped clean by an unchecked population of those insects. That's not acceptable for a broad leaf evergreen.
BTK can be a very useful tool.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:27AM
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