CATERPILLARS got you down?

You WILL get them in your garden! You can expect it!  The good news is that you have created a perfect environment and they are ready to move in! While it’s great to know your garden is healthy and thriving, caterpillars will destroy your crops with their insatiable appetite so always be on the lookout. Caterpillars are sometimes hard to spot because they can be teeny tiny. We have all cracked open a head of lettuce only to find that it was doubling as a condo for these little buggers. Sometimes it is easier to spot their waste than it is to spot them so definitely keep an eye out for a trail of waste! They eat more than their body weight in a day, so you will have plenty of opportunities!

We want you to get to know your plants! Spend time with them! Expect and look forward to learning about the unique characteristics of your garden. Everything will impact your wall! Sun light, shade, moisture, temperature and neighboring externals. Most are obvious, but others may be less so. For example, what might be living in your neighbor’s tree? Or what might be living in your potted roses that climbs on over to have a look around. You have created a little ecosystem of life. Welcome to gardening! You will love getting to know your unique space and all of its inhabitants!

You do want to get rid of caterpillars. Female moths lay clusters of eggs on the back and front sides of leaves. The eggs hatch 4-10 days later, hatching sooner in warmer temperatures. Caterpillars eat all season long and find a safe space to cocoon for 8-30 days before emerging as a moth to repeat the cycle.

 The best thing you can do is destroy moths and caterpillars when you see them. Morning and late afternoon are the best times of day to spot them. Use a spray that contains Bacillus Thuringiensis or BT. BT will ensure that all munching insects that actually bite the foliage itself will be killed. BT is naturally derived from soil in many regions of the world. The bug ingesting the spray that's on foliage and then it paralyzes the body. BT will not affect birds or other insects that will eat the dead bugs that have Bacillus ingested. We recommend Monterey BT and Monterey Garden insect spray, and Monterey Take Down Garden Spray. Remember, you’re doing something right if they are moving in! Enjoy your garden!

LIFE CYCLE

The female moth flies about laying clusters of eggs on the back and front sides of leaves, with them then hatching between 4 and 10 days depending on the time of year and temperature. The warmer the faster the hatch.

The caterpillar will then munch through the season, and find a safe spot to spin its cocoon.

Depending on the type of caterpillar it will stay in its cocoon as a pupal for 8-30 days. Soon emerging into the moth spreading more of the nasty boogers.

Resources: https://www.mothprevention.com/pages/the-clothes-moth-life-cycle

Ultimately it is difficult to identify which type of caterpillar we have, looking at the type of moths we are seeing and what time of day they are flying. Just look out for little tiny brown poops and itty bitty green caterpillars before eating. They are really hard to see unless they are larger! Did you know caterpillars can eat way more than their body weight each day? Here is information on the general Life cycle and how to eradicate them.

The family of caterpillars may have come from the moth family of Cyncia. We may have the Oregon Cyncia Moth (Cyncia Oregonensis)

Resource on these moths: http://pnwmoths.biol.wwu.edu/browse/family-erebidae/subfamily-arctiinae/tribe-arctiini/cycnia/cycnia-oregonensis/

HOW TO ERADICATE

The best thing you can do is kill the bugs when you see them, whether that be as a moth or the actual caterpillar itself. Best time of day to spot the critter themselves is in the morning and late afternoon/night.

You want to use a spray that contains Bacillus Thuringiensis or BT. BT will ensure that all munching insects that actually bite the foliage itself will be killed. BT is naturally derived from soil in many regions of the world.

BT works by the bug ingesting the spray that's on foliage and then it paralyzes the body.

BT will not affect birds or other insects that will eat the dead bugs that have Bacillus ingested.

Recommended sprays would be, Monterey BT and Monterey Garden insect spray , and Monterey Take Down Garden Spray. ( I believe that Take Down will cover the array of pests we deal with. I know for a fact that the spray we give our customers now, will not kill caterpillars. More research on insecticidal sprays, and differentiators coming soon. I really strongly think this can be upgraded for our customers, and be very effective in organic matter.)

Resources: https://www.arbico-organics.com/category/btk-caterpillar-control