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Caterpillars Killed My Plant!

Question:

I had a sweet broom in a ten gallon pot. There were little caterpillars on it. No big deal, right? I just picked them off. Later in the month I noticed more, lots more. They took over the whole plant and killed it. What were they and where did they come from? This pot was on my concrete patio with no other plants, trees, or grass around.

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Hardiness Zone: 9b

Beachers from West Covina, CA

Answer:

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.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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March 19, 20060 found this helpful

not sure where they originated from, but a sure fire way to kill any bugs from any plant is to use the following:
spray bottle with water, drop of dishsoap and dash of cayenne pepper. Spray the entire plant, put in sunny location. Same spray keeps goats from chewing things!

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