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Good or bad caterpillars?

Posted by enoughcliches Tropical (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 15, 07 at 10:22

I recently found the culprits that have been munching holes in my hibiscus plants.

The first one is a slender, green caterpillar shown below.

The second is a small, white-ish caterpillar (I think) with a black head. I can't post any pictures of this one yet because I just found it tonight. Not only is it chewing up the younger leaves but also rolling up the edges with webbing.

Are these 'good' or 'bad' caterpillars? Should I remove them immediately or let nature take its course and balance them out with predators?

Image link: Good or bad caterpillars? (56 k)

Here is a link that might be useful: Green caterpillar

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Good or bad caterpillars?

I'd be tempted to remove them by hand and toss them where birds are likely to find them.

RE: Good or bad caterpillars?

Me too, hahaa. I don't mind a few raggedy leaves, but I'm just worried that the population of 'bad' caterpillars will somehow go out of control and start swarming my poor plants.

RE: Good or bad caterpillars?

That could be any one of about one hundred moth larva that do chew on leaves and these can be controlled in the early stages of life, if dunking them is too much, (first three weeks) with sprays of Bacillus thurigiensis - Kurstaki. After that time Neem Oil sprays or pyrethrin dusts keeping in mind that both of these are broad spectrum poisons and should only be used as a laste resort.

RE: Good or bad caterpillars?

Actually, Bacillus should probably be used only when the caterpillar population threatens the plant (or crop). Excess use of this bacterium threatens non target larvae of Lepidoperans.

If merely a few caterpillars are present, they could be bird food by the time someone mixed up a batch of Bt-K and applied it.

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