The Q&A Archives: Zinnia Seedlings Attacked by Caterpillars

Question: My zinnia seedlings, which just sprouted about a week ago, are being attacked by caterpillars that eat the entire seedling. What can I use that will control the caterpillars without damaging the seedlings?

Answer: It's really important to identify exactly what is eating your plants before attempting to spray something on them. You may do more harm than good. (Spraying will kill beneficial insects as well as the "bad guys.") Also, it's best to start with the easiest, most benign method first and if that doesn't work, move on from there. Caterpillars are easy to control by handpicking. (Those caterpillars might be butterflies in disguise! It might be fun to try to identify them!)

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