🐛 Caterpillars

Caterpillar Overview

As a whole, caterpillars are known as the larva of moths and butterflies which are a member of the order Lepidoptera. There are over 100,000 different kinds of species that fall on this order so it’s not surprising that nearly everyone had seen caterpillars which are usually found in house gardens, outdoor crops and greenhouse. They have chewing mouthparts that help them feed on any of these plants: alder, cabbage, clover, fennel, hackberry, lilac, milkweed, plum, mallow, parsley, sunflower and more.

Appearance

Majority of caterpillars possess a cylindrical shape and soft segmented body with worm-like appearance while the number of legs depends on the species. They come in different colors, among the most common are brown and green with many patterns. Some caterpillars have hairs that are actually spines changed to sting, safety should be observed when touching this larva.

Life-cycle

Adult female butterfly mates and choose a host plant where to lay the eggs closely together. After 5 days the eggs will hatch and worm-like creatures called larvae appears and begin feeding on their host plants. The Larvae go through numbers of molting until they reach a definite size. Then they will cease feeding and look for a place to pupate. During the pupal stage, they produce chrysalis that is similar to the colors around like green or brown. The pupae start to change their shape and later turn into butterflies.

Types of Caterpillar

There is a broad range of caterpillars, included on the most known types are the foliage-feeders that feed on a cluster of leaves, cutworms that feed on garden vegetables and ornamentals, leafrollers that feed on fruits, and the borers tunnels bark. The fact that this butterfly larva causes extreme damages to plant and fruit-bearing trees is a big problem to deal with.

Damage

Caterpillars using their chewing and cutting mouthparts to cause extreme damage to plants if there is no early detection and prevention. Other types of caterpillars feed by scraping the surface of the leaves while some may create small holes in them. They can cause various damages to the plants when they chew foliage, tunnel stems and bark of a tree.

Control

One of the easiest ways to control the number of caterpillars in your house garden is to pick them and drop in a bucket of soapy water. Another alternative way is spraying them using insecticidal soap that can be bought in your local store. If the first two methods didn’t work, your last option would be calling your local pest control professional.

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