oleander - Knowledgebase Question

lake worth, Fl
Avatar for orkisz
Question by orkisz
July 12, 2010
I am seeibng catepillars on my oleander. Have sprayed with malathion oil, but to no avail. What can I use to rid my plants of them?

Answer from NGA
July 12, 2010
Oleander caterpillars are the most significant insect pest of oleanders. The caterpillar is an immature phase of the Oleander Moth, Syntomeida epilais jucundissima. The female moth lays clusters of 25 to 75 orange eggs under leaves and when the eggs hatch the young larva will skeletonize the leaves. The more mature orange-colored caterpillar with black spots and hairs will eat the entire blade.It bites the veins which allows the toxic sap to drain. Then it consumes the entire leaf.

When it reaches a mature size of about 2 inches long, the insect pupates. The silk-covered cocoon yields a purple-black winged moth that has several white dots on the wings. With a sixty-day life cycle, this pest can have three generations in a year. Scouting for the eggs and young caterpillars in March, July and December will enable control measures to reduce feeding damage. Bacillus thuringensis insecticides can provide environmentally safe yet effective control. Look for Dipel or Thuricide in your garden center. Permethrin based chemical insecticides can also be used to control these pests.

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