The Q&A Archives: the very hungry caterpillar

Question: I have some black with white stipes down each side caterpillars in my flower bed. I've tried sevens powder and rose/flower spray. They only effective method I've found is literally picking them off. What are they and how can I get rid of them before my flowers are completely gone!

Answer: If the caterpillars are black with white stripes and a black head, they are probably tent caterpillars rather than immature butterflies. In this case, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will take care of them. Bt, sold under the trade name Dipel, is a bacterium which acts as a stomach poison so expect them to continue eating for a little while after you've treated the plants.

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