Pest ControlGardening

Gypsy Moth Caterpillars

Does anyone know of a good "GREEN" solution for those horrible Gypsy Moth Caterpillars? They are eating my petunias and other flowers, last year they ate all my petunias. Not letting them eat them this year.


Hardiness Zone: 6a

Elaine from Enola, PA

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May 18, 20070 found this helpful

I found the following on a yahoo search:

This one here gives lots of information on it.

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May 18, 20070 found this helpful

We had a plague of these several years ago. They were climbing up the sides of the house by the hundreds.
Try spraying them with simple dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Beware though - they do stink when rotting. Cover them with some lime to keep down the odor.

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By melfrmny (Guest Post)
May 18, 20070 found this helpful

NOt sure how Eco friendly this is but we have friends who swear by it. WD40. Just spray is on the nest or the catapillars and they die instantly.

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May 18, 20070 found this helpful

Here are a few articles I found on the web - Please read the whole articles at the URL's provided:


A partial quote from the above article:

Controlling the Gypsy Moth with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis)

What is BT?

In 1915, B. thuringiensis was discovered from diseased flour moth caterpillars, but few experiments or attempts to use this bacterium occurred until the 1950s. By 1961, the first BT product was registered for control of caterpillar pests, mainly in agricultural crops. Since that first registration, dramatic discoveries have occurred in identifying BT strains. Now we have BT products that affect caterpillars, leaf beetles, and mosquito larvae.

How Does BT Work?

The actual mode of action of BT is simple. The bacterium produces a crystal protein toxin that kills the cells lining the insect gut. When ingested, the bacterial cell wall is digested which releases this toxin. Since insects have guts that are only one cell layer thick, this toxin literally "eats" a hole in the gut, causing an infection in the body cavity.


The interesting thing about BT, is that only certain insects digest and are affected by the protein toxins. In most insects, as well as people, birds, fish, and other animals, the BT proteins have virtually no measurable effect.

Insecticides made from BT and its toxins are usually called microbial or biological insecticides.

With the development of fermentation technology, the BT bacterium can be grown in artificial media and gallons can be produced economically.

Do BT Sprays Harm People, Pets, Livestock, Honey Bees or the Environment?

As stated above, neither BT bacteria nor the protein toxins have any effect on people, pets (unless you are raising caterpillars as pets!), livestock, or honeybees. In fact, there is a BT product that is specifically registered to control the honey bee infesting caterpillar, the wax

GREEN TIPS from the Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University


----> HERE'S A PARTIAL QUOTE read above URL for more:

A. If individual homesites are heavily infested with gypsy moths, a community-wide control program may be necessary to protect the trees. The reason: caterpillar numbers may be too great or may move into treated homesites from adjacent, untreated lots -- just as though nothing had been done. Where caterpillar populations are light to moderate, hand destruction of caterpillars and egg masses may give partial relief. Homeowners can: 1) Seek out and destroy egg masses from September through April. The buff, hair-covered clusters should be carefully scraped off and either burned or dropped in kerosene or bleach. 2) Catch caterpillars during late May by using a cloth strip (6 to 8 inches wide) tied around each tree trunk. Caterpillars congregate under the strips to escape the heat and sunlight. Any caterpillars or pupae found should be dropped in a can of bleach or kerosene. 3) Paint a 6-inch band of sticky substance such as "tanglefoot" around each tree trunk to keep the caterpillars from ascending the tree to feed on the leaves. 4) Hand pick all forms of the insect -- from spring to fall -- and dispose of as above. Check undersides of limbs both high and low on the tree and look in bark crevices. Examine rocks or other objects lying on the ground. 5) Apply an insecticide when the caterpillars start to eat the leaves of the trees in May. Consult your county agricultural agent or local plant protection officials for advice on the best material to use and information on planned State or local control actions.





* Pheromone Flakes
In areas that contain the caterpillars of other moth and butterfly species that are affected by Btk, we spray pheromone flakes, a mating disruptor.

* Natural Enemies of the Gypsy Moth: The Good Guys
A summary with photos of the predators, parasitoids, and diseases of gypsy moth.

* Entomophaga maimaiga-A Natural Enemy of Gypsy Moth
Learn about a promising biological control for the gypsy moth. This fungal pathogen has been successfully introduced throughout infested areas of Wisconsin.

* Barrier Bands to Suppress the Gypsy Moth
How to use sticky barrier bands on yard trees.

* Cloth Banding Trees to Suppress the Gypsy Moth
How to use burlap collecting bands to reduce the number of caterpillars in your yard.


* Pheromone Traps and the Gypsy Moth
All about the traps used to monitor gypsy moth populations.

all AND LOTS MORE from the URL below: READ URL below for more info:


---> Predators
Although many birds don't like feeding on gypsy moth caterpillars, a few species such as the yellow billed cuckoo, seem to relish the big, hairy caterpillars. Small rodents like white-footed mice, shrews and voles feed on large caterpillars and pupae. Mice seem to prefer the larger female pupae to smaller male pupae. This selective munching may have an even greater impact on gypsy moth populations than random dining. Calosoma beetles also actively seek out and devour young gypsy moth caterpillars. Calosoma beetles are large, attractive ground beetles. Some species were imported into North America specifically for gypsy moth control. Both the larval and adult stages of this beetle are predaceous.

---> Parasitoids
One parasitoid that is very important in Michigan in Ooencyrtus kuvanae. This insect is a tiny wasp and was imported into Michigan by the Department of Agriculture. The young wasps feed on the developing caterpillars inside gypsy moth eggs. When the adult wasps emerge, they are attracted to the scent of gypsy moth females or new egg masses. Once they find an egg mass, they lay their eggs inside the gypsy moth eggs. Estimates made by Cora Gorsuch showed that an average of 35 percent of the eggs in an egg mass are parasitized. Other parasitoids may also feed in gypsy moth eggs, or in caterpillars or pupae. Although parasitoids won't control a gypsy moth outbreak by themselves, they certainly help.

---> Pathogens
Pathogens, or insect diseases, are the most important of the 3 Ps. One especially interesting pathogen is an organism that causes a virus disease in caterpillars. The virus disease Neucleopolyhederosis virsus (usually referred to as NPV) is the major factor that causes gypsy moth outbreaks to collapse. When caterpillars are killed by this virus, they hang in an upside-down V, turn a dark color and appear to melt as they decompose over leaves and branches. NPV, always present in gypsy moth populations, is seldom noticed except during gypsy moth outbreaks. During a gypsy moth outbreak, there are usually two waves of disease in the gypsy moth population. Adult females can pass the virus to some of their offspring when they lay eggs. Young caterpillars may then pick up the virus as they chew their way out of the eggs. When these young larvae die (the first wave), they can spread the virus around foliage, tree trunks, and other areas. Older larvae may eventually pick up the virus and die before pupating (the second "wave"). NPV is known to affect only gypsy moth caterpillars and does not affect other insects or other animals

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May 25, 20070 found this helpful

I couldn't find any home remedies but I did find an environmentally safe liquid on the web that isn't very expensive. Here is the web site

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