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caterpillar repellant?

Posted by dirtgirl So. Illinois (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 2, 08 at 15:44

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...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: caterpillar repellant?

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

RE: caterpillar repellant?

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.

RE: caterpillar repellant?

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.

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