Yes, they eat your plants, but very seldom do they kill them. The leaves will grow back once they've eaten what they need to turn into beautiful butterflies or moths. I put in specific plants as a food source for their larvae.
Think before you poison. We're killing ourselves by destroying so many pollinators. Think of the bees and colony collapse disorder. No pollinators equals no food for us.
Source: Master Gardener
By Carol from Evans, Georgia
Hardiness Zone: 9b
Beachers from West Covina, CA
Without seeing them, it's hard to say what they were. It sounds as though either they hatched from the underside of your plant's leaves, or somehow they spread the word quickly about your Sweet Broom. Kudos to you for trying to remove them by hand, too bad they got so out of control. Let's hope you have some lovely butterflies or moths in the coming weeks to make up for the loss of your plant. A common control for caterpillars is Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). It is available at most garden centers. Bt is in an insecticidal bacterium that you apply when caterpillars are small. When used as recommended, it is not harmful to pets, people or the environment. Bt contains spores of a lethal bacteria that germinate in the gut of a caterpillar after ingestion and causes them to stop feeding-and eventually kills them.
By Ellen Brown
I am looking for a home remedy to keep caterpillars in the yard and off my back porch and house. There are hundreds of these yellowish brown caterpillars, (some are a light green color) covering my patio. With every step we take from our door to our car we step on several. They are beginning to climb up the door so that when we open it to step out they fall inside my house and have to be swept out. I need something that really works and that is affordable. We do not have a vegetable garden or even very many flowers so I don't know where they are coming from. We have lived in this home for years and I have never seen this before. I am thinking there might be something we can spray as a barrier around our porch and house to keep them in the grass. I would love some ideas if anyone has one.
If you have never had these before, it is likely some odd infestation like tent caterpillars. There is little or nothing short of spraying poison all over that will get rid of them. Anything that kills caterpillars is also poisonous to people, and to kill such vast numbers of them will require a lot.
Caterpillar infestations only last a few days, although if these are the kind that we had in this area for a few years, they can eat all of the leaves and grass in the area (and I am talking about several a hundred square miles of area, not just one yard).
The caterpillars move in a "flock" until they get to an area with trees that they like. Then they climb up the trees, eating as they go, until they are big enough to pupate. They spin their cocoons, develop over time into a moth (nothing attractive), all hatch at one time, and then fly off or blow off to another area to lay their eggs.
If an infestation is bad enough (as you describe) to be a nuisance, it is likely too large to really do anything about.
Does anyone have a home remedy to get rid of caterpillars? I had several yesterday climbing up the sides of my house in the backyard. They're hairy, green striped with black heads, and reddish orange stripes underneath.
Our yard was mowed yesterday and I have flower gardens with roses, salvia greggi, victorian lace salvia, butterfly bushes and a pecan tree. I've never had trouble with caterpillars in the seven years we've lived here. Help!
Hardiness Zone: 8b
Hi. We are beginning to see the first sign of the dreaded hairy caterpillar in Spain which is dangerous for our ground sniffing Yorkshire Terrier. Has anyone any ideas how we can get rid of these? We have destroyed two nests that were on our pine trees but we have been told not to tread on them as the spines fly off and are still dangerous. We need an urgent reply if at all possible please.
d_dutch at sky dot com (please remove spaces and change at to @ and dot to .)
Warm, humid weather has finally arrived. Today we found a bunch of caterpillars on our front porch crawling into a bucket and all over the floor. We removed the bucket, but now what? How do we keep them away? How do we rid of them? Is there any home remedy or safe way, as we have pets?
By Lilly P
Hi, This is probably just one group that hatched at the same time, and once you put them outside, you probably won't have anymore coming around. Carefully scoop up the ones you found on a piece of flat cardboard or a dustpan. Gently put them in the backyard on a plant leaf that is not one of your expensive plants. They should go about their business and in a few weeks will make a cocoon and form either moths or butterflies. Hope this helps.