Pest Identification

boozer52November 12, 2010

Found this on a branch of the tangerine tree this afternoon. Didn't see any damage but just wondered what it was and if it causes any harn. Is this common to the southern california area and does it cause any harm. The pictures do not do it justice, it really has a creey look.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That's the caterpillar of the beautiful Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. They are a relatively common pest of citrus country-wide. Plenty of parasites and predators help control them in all stages, but they are capable of munching away at a lot of foliage.

I grow some seedling citrus in containers just for the benefit of the butterflies, but others may not wish to sacrifice their plants that way.

Look for the small, pearl-like eggs laid singly on the leaves, usually the upper surface. Your caterpillar, by the way, is not a youngster. Inspect your plants regularly, if possible, so that you can find them when they are still tiny.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you very much for the ID. I will keep an eye out for damage before I think about doing anything. I have seen several of those butterflies flying around, but never knew what the lavae looked like. Since I tore out my lawn last spring and replaced it with natives, I have seem a lot of things that I have never seen before. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2010 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

"...I have seen a lot of things I have never seen before."

I'll BET you are, boozer. You may find that you've attracted more of the natural pest control agents, enough so that you see little damage from the caterpillars.

Look for numbers of regular wasps (like the mud daubers), which take caterpillars away to stuff into their muddy egg chambers for the developing wasp larvae. Tiny parasitic wasps are much more difficult to see, but are considered a primary control of caterpillars. There are also predatory stinkbugs (and other members of that family), beetles (even ladybugs will eat the eggs and very young caterpillars), birds, lizards, snakes, tree frogs, squirrels, and more!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 1:10PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Will these onions be any good?
I planted onions last year and the grass got in them...
problem with skunk cabbage
My Eastern skunk cabbages aren't doing so well. I believe...
Weird white stuff growing on my plants.
I've noticed weird stuff growing & spreading on...
Cheryl Tan
Treating tomato plants with dishwashing soap
This is my first time here, so i hope i am following...
Getting rid of soil nematodes
Dear veggie lovers: This is my first season growing...
Sponsored Products
Mr. Chin Key Ring by Alessi
$29.00 | Lumens
Bethany Optic 2 Gallon Crystal Beverage Dispenser with Spigot
Classic Hostess
Hypoallergenic Bedbug Waterproof Cotton Top Mattress Cover
Patriot Mosquito Magnet Insect Trap
$349.00 | FRONTGATE
Shepherd's Hook
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Tan Leather RFID Blocking Debossed Passport Jacket
Classic Hostess
Palram Plant Inn 4' x 4' Urban Vegetable Garden Greenhouse
Slate Cheese Board with Chalk
| Dot & Bo
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™