pest control - Knowledgebase Question

Clayton, Ne
Question by rdlk
June 30, 2010
What can I do to get rid of caterpillars on my flowers?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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First, you want to determine exactly what insect you're dealing with. Check to see if the caterpillars are causing damage. Are they eating the leaves or flower petals? If you determine they are the culprits in any damage you see, try to identify the caterpillar, because caterpillars are butterfly larvae, and if you kill them you'll miss out on their future butterflies. That said, if the caterpillars are eating your flowers, the best control is a product containing Bt. This is a biological control that targets only caterpillars, so it won't harm pollinators and other beneficial insects. It takes a few days to work, but it's an effective control so be patient. Another common pest of roses is the rose slug -- they look like tiny caterpillars, but they're a different family of insects so they don't respond to Bt. For these, I'd use a product containing neem.

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