caterpillar repellant?

dirtgirl(So. Illinois)September 2, 2008

I just set out a handful of cardinal flower plants(lobelia) and they are under attack by sulphur caterpillars. "Attack " is poor choice of words, the cats are only doing what they are supposed to do-eat. In a few years or so the plants will hopefully be naturalized and it won't matter if they get snacked on, but right now I want them protected for a few years to get established. I have been frantically hand-picking but I can't keep up with them and they are in all stages of development so I miss the small instars. Is there anything I can put on the plants to repel the cats, or possibly the egg-laying females, that won't necessarily be a kill-all like Sevin powder? I've been recruiting cog-wheel bugs and spiders but they don't stay put.

Hopefully someone can give me a few tips. Maybe simple soapy water in a squirt bottle...

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Perhaps just spraying them with a hose several times a day.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:02AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Bt if that is allowed on this forum. Bacillus thuringiensis I think. It kills caterpillars so if you have monarchs and others you are saving don't get it on their food. I think Dipel dust also only kills caterpillars. Look them up before you try it, I'm not an authority.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There isn't anything that I know of that REPELLS butterflies, moths, or caterpillars.

helen, Dipel dust IS Bacillus thuringiensis. Just so you know. And you are correct that Bt can kill all species of caterpillars.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 3:24PM
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