Is this a caterpiller ? Worried about my garden.

srilunewgardenerApril 24, 2012

Something is eating my leaves. I guess its a caterpiller. Today I found this on one of the strawberry leaves. Can you identify this bug. Its not touching tomato leaves. Its eating okra, strawberry, dhalia and black berry (That's all I have). We have butterflies and moths in our yard.

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    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:11PM
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melvalena

I tried your link but it said page not found.

You'll have to use the link that is labeled HTML to get it to show up in your post.

It won't show up until you 'preview' your post.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:21PM
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srilunewgardener

Please try the link again. Imade the album public. I am not able to post it here. my preview is not showing image if I use html
https://picasaweb.google.com/117012854435345435120/April242012#

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 5:12PM
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melvalena

Yep.. that's what it is.. there's so many out right now and tons of moths too. I have no idea what kind it is though.

Here is a link that might be useful: direct link to caterpiller photos

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 6:59PM
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melvalena

Try the links below:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/151691

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas caterpillars

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 7:05PM
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srilunewgardener

Thank you for the reply. I think this is what it is.

http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2009/745/02.htm

I also have some black/brown furry caterpillars. What can I do to control these caterpillars. Is BT effective for this kind of caterpillars?
Thank you,
Latha

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:04AM
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melvalena

I really don't know.
I let nature take care of things, but I'm not growing food.
According to the link below management isn't easy. The life cycle is fairly short so I'd get out there and pick off as many as I could and destroy them. Just keep at it each day and that should control the population --that is if you don't have miles and miles of garden to look after!

The problem is what ever you do use will have some effect on the good worms and insects too.

You might want to ask in the vegetable forum.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/cornucop/

Here is a link that might be useful: Yellowstriped Armyworm

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:11AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

BT is very effective. If your garden is small you can just mix up a small spray bottle of it and spray the plants they are eating. It contains a bacteria that affects only the caterpillars digestive system and not anything else. They stop eating within a day or two and will die soon after. Of course if you get it on any plants you are growing for caterpillar food it will kill them too.

The main predator of caterpillars is wasps so if you have any paper wasp nests around try to leave them if they are not where you would bump them. Paper wasps are relatively non agressive and only sting if you bump their nest. We've had big nests right over the door way and they never bother us.

Wishing you the best with your garden. Keep us posted on how it goes.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:25AM
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JimR36(5b CO)

It looks like an armyworm (caterpillar). There are several kinds, due to there being several kinds of armyworm moths (i.e. the adult version of the same creature). These caterpillars are not furry though. If someone is talking about furry caterpillars, than they are talking about something else entirely.

The best approach is to daily look at all your plants, especially on the underside of the leaves. Get a jar or can, and put all the caterpillars you find in it. Do what you want with the contents :-), but don't release them. You shouldn't need Bt unless you have a huge number of plants, and/or if the foliage is very dense and hard to check/reach. Bt works well, but the "pick" approach often is quicker and easier.

I've personally found armyworms on tomatoes and kohlabi. They seem to grow slower than other caterpillars, so you can usually keep up with them better than others, and get ahead of their life cycle, to end it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:43AM
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JimR36(5b CO)

P.S. As others have mentioned, it probably is a yellow-striped armyworm (young version of the same-named moth). The caterpillar's appearance changes quite a bit over time as it grows. It can be confusing if you aren't familiar with its range of appearances. The adult moth is dark, with various detailed lines across the wings. More information here:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/12522

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:51AM
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srilunewgardener

Even I Prefer to do it without spraying anything. I just have some vegetable seedlings and some young strawberry plants and these caterpillars are not letting them grow. As soon as a new leaf shows up they eat. I want to save my seedlings. I will try to pick them and see for a week if it works. Otherwise I will have to spray.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:48PM
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JimR36(5b CO)

Sorry to hear that sril. You must have a big infestation. Yes, try the constant vigil of checking on the plants, even several times of day if that's possible. Also look out for the moths, and catch them if you can. They usually sit longer than butterflies. In theory, you should be able to greatly cut down on them over time by slowly eliminating them and breaking the cycle. Caterpillars caught will never be able to become moths and vice versa.

It sounds now like it is only one species to go after, so you can ignore the rest. Just make sure there aren't other troublemakers.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 3:20PM
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greybird(z7 TX)

it has been such a wonderful butterfly spring, a long time since I have seen so many.

I don't think poisons are selective in what particular catepillers they kill, so you will be doing away with so many butterflies if you spray. Not to mention what that poison does to the predators that eat them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:42AM
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