The Q&A Archives: Caterpillar Eating Hibiscus

Question: Every year I have been getting a little "worm" on my 'Disco Belle' Hibiscus plants. They totally decimate the plants. They're about an inch or so long when full grown and green.

Answer: It sounds like the larva of abutilon moth, which also likes hibiscus and hollyhocks. You'll need to have the pest identified by someone who can actually see it so you can choose the right mode of contro. Your extension service (ph# 205/349-3886) can help you with that. If the critter is indeed the abutilon moth larva, it can be controlled with Bt 'kurstaki' (often sold as Dipel or Caterkill) - available in garden centers, or from Gardens Alive, 5100 Schenely Pl., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025; ph# 812/537-8650; e-mail This is best applied while the caterpillars are still small. Hope this helps!

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