How to remove caterpillars from plants? 7 useful tips

In the world of gardening there are endless enemies. Caterpillars do not escape this list. Discover how to attack and prevent them so that your crop remains healthy!

Last update: 05 November, 2021

Eliminating caterpillars from plants should be a priority in your gardening task, since although they seem harmless, they are very harmful. It is a frequent and aggressive type of pest that kills crops.

These small hairy insects, descendants of butterflies and moths, feed on a myriad of fruits, vegetables and greens. For example, white cabbage caterpillars consume cabbage leaves, in addition to cauliflower, broccoli and kale, among others belonging to the family Brassicaceae. While the drillers lean towards palm trees and poplars.

On the other hand, the plusia prefers melon, tomato, eggplant and watermelon. Bag caterpillars often attack leaves, buds, and flowers. We cannot forget the popular tomato caterpillar either. If you want to learn how to get rid of them, do not miss what follows in this article.

Signs and consequences of caterpillars on plants

There are some visible clues that will alert you to the presence of these invasive species. We present the most common ones in the following list:

  • Small holes or bites in the leaves of the vegetables (about the size of a pin).
  • Curved stems or with a pale or dark rosette around the damage.
  • Split twigs.
  • Tiny black pellets which are actually caterpillar feces.
  • Weakness in plants. They will cease to be upright due to lack of vitality.

Although caterpillars have a life cycle that does not exceed 45 days, in that short time they can do significant damage. The impact ranges from causing disease to completely killing the plant in question.

7 useful tips to eliminate plant caterpillars

Now that you know the traces and consequences of this pest on your planting, it is time for you to learn how to eliminate caterpillars from plants. Try the suggestions that we will mention below.

Caterpillars cause plant damage ranging from tiny holes to plant death.

1. Attract birds to your orchard or garden

Larks, goldfinches, and sparrows feed on caterpillars. They will become your great allies in this mission. Take care of buying or building nest houses on your own.

2. Take advantage of other animals

A widely used alternative to control pests are parasitoid or predatory wasps, which are responsible for destroying the larvae, but without affecting the leaves. You wonder how to get their attention. Nothing better than sowing aromatic species, such as basil, spearmint or mint.

Toads, frogs, and beetles are other animals that feed on caterpillars, so they will serve you in the biological control of this pest.

3. Use other plants to attack the caterpillars

In this order of ideas, in the green world we find certain varieties that, due to their aroma or type, effectively repel insects, preventing other plants from getting sick. Garlic is a sample, as well as calendula, mint, basil and sage.

4. Spray a biological insecticide

In your garden store ask for the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), a product manufactured to combat insects such as caterpillars and worms without attacking earthworms, birds, ladybugs or bees.

Among its advantages is that it protects vegetables, fruits and trees. Thanks to its formula, the action is very fast. Once ingested by caterpillars, they will no longer feed and will end up dead within 2 to 3 days.

Avoid using synthetic insecticides as much as possible. If you decide to use them, be very careful so that you do not end up making the plant sick.

5. Set traps for caterpillars

Among the options is to have a trap sprayed with female pheromones. The goal is to attract and capture the males to prevent them from fertilizing the females.. It is a good way to combat their multiplication.

6. Use home remedies

If you are a lover of domestic solutions, these techniques were designed for you:

  • Combine dish soap and water in a sprayer. Spread the mixture on the affected leaves to get rid of the caterpillars.
  • Boil water and pour tobacco from a pack of cigarettes (It is also effective to boil the ashes). Then, with the help of a spray, put small amounts on the plant.
  • Mix potassium soap with water, empty it into the atomizer and spread it on your plants to leave them protected.
  • Add karanja oil. It is a very practical option that acts as an insecticide and miticide. A great attraction is that its smell is very mild.
  • Stir garlic powder with little water and a touch of soap. Once the product is sprayed, you will see that it is a valuable technique to scare away butterflies, since they do not like this smell.

Making homemade pesticides without chemical additives is quite easy. You only have to know the properties of natural products and plants. We present several samples:

  • Chop or crush the tomato leaves, immerse them in water and wait for the mixture to settle. The next step is to apply it to the plant to ward off not only caterpillars, but also aphids and worms.
  • Boil a few sprigs of coriander For 10 minutes, strain the infusion and pour it into the garden. The truth is that this works as an insect repellent.
  • Incorporate 100 grams of nettle in 10 liters of water and wait for it to rest. This weed, despite its terrible reputation, is an excellent pesticide.

7. Check your plants well to eliminate caterpillars

The best method you have to protect your crop is observation. Take time each day to thoroughly detail your plants. Some caterpillars are very easy to notice, due to their large size and because they form rows.

For its part, another group has smaller dimensions, so they are confused with the leaves. This could complicate the search.

Finding them, remove the tracks with a gloved hand, just like the nests. Use a lighter that will serve to incinerate them in a controlled manner.

It is essential to spend time observing the plants. In this way, pests can be detected immediately.

How to prevent caterpillars on plants?

Place a net over your garden with the edges very secure. Experts on the subject advise to install it in the spring season. However, you should not trust yourself; it is best to check the underside of the leaves once a week.

This action will keep the butterflies away, preventing them from laying their eggs, which can be between 150 and 600 depending on the species. It is important that you know how to recognize their presence: they are elongated and yellowish.

But it is not just about having a vegetable garden or a garden; You also have to maintain it as it should to ensure the well-being of each of your plants. Part of this task involves preventing the leaves from remaining dirty with animal droppings.

Likewise, when doing the watering, prevents water from being puddled and wells from forming, as they will become the ideal setting for snails, mosquitoes and other insects that love water.

It is worth mentioning that while these tips are quite useful for protecting your plants, the caterpillars may not disappear completely. If it happens to you, the way to go is to go to an expert in the field.

Enjoy your planting!

Nothing more pleasant than keeping your garden healthy. Now that you know a new way to do it, say goodbye to caterpillars.

You will be ready to enjoy the best vegetables, fruits and vegetables: the ones you have at home. Unleash your inner great gardener!

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