The Q&A Archives: Black insects that eat plant leaves!

Question: I bought beautiful bougainvillea's from Home Depot. Over this last weekend, much of the leaves of the bougainvillea were eaten by, I believe, black bugs. I noticed these very small black barrel shaped bugs all over the ground and/or the top of the leaves (I assume they are bugs &/or could even be poop). I do not know what they are. Please tell me what they are & what I can do to fix my issue.Thx!

Answer: There's a little green caterpillar that sometimes attacks bougainvilleas and consumes the leaves in a hurry. I suspect what you are seeing is frass - bug poop - especially since you are seeing them on the soil as well as on the leaves. The botanical Bt (bacillus thuringensis) which is sold as Dipel and Thuricide will control the caterpillars. Be sure to apply according to label directions. Good luck with your garden!

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