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Posts Tagged ‘Caterpillar’

Western Tussock Moth

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Western Tussock Moth

Common names: Western Tussock Moth

Scientific name: Orgyia vetusta

Region: This Caterpillar is found in western North America with a similar species in the East.

Life cycle: This insect produces one generation each year and overwinters in frothy white egg masses on trees.

Physical Description: This 1 1/4 inch long caterpillar is a strange looking, hairy insect.  It has a bright red head with two hornlike tufts of long black hair.  Its primary colors are brown with yellow and black longitudinal stripes.  The adult moth is gray with dark wavy bands and a wingspan of 1 1/4 inches, the female is wingless.  The eggs are laid in frothy white egg masses on the females cocoon and covered with hairs.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, apricot chrysanthemum, geranium, German ivy, hickory, horse chestnut, peach, pear, plum, rose, and quince by skeletonizing leaves and form silken cocoons on the bark.

Controls: Pick off the infested leaves and groups of larvae, and destroy them.  Scrape off the masses of eggs or paint them with creosote.  The masses are easy to find.  They are about an inch long and lathery.

Natural predators of this caterpillar is various Trichogramma Wasps and birds.

For serious infestations, apply Bacillus thuringiensis to the larvae and eggs.

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Walnut Caterpillar

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Walnut Caterpillar

Common names: Walnut Caterpillar

Scientific name: Datana integerrima

Region: This Caterpillar is found in eastern and southern United States.

Life cycle: This insect produces one to two generations each year.  The pupae hibernate in the soil.  As with many insects, this caterpillar population goes in cycles.  They might be bad for one to two years and then virtually disappear for several seasons.

Physical Description: This 2-inch long caterpillar is reddish brown to black with a black head and white hairs.

The adult moth also has a hairy body, is brown in color with four dark bands bordered in white and a wingspan of 1 to 2 inches.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks apple, peach, pecan, and walnut plants by eating the leaves.  They will stop eating in the middle of summer to molt, then resume there feeding in the fall.

Controls: These caterpillars will congregate at the bases of branches every night making it easy to remove them on small trees.  A ladder may be necessary for larger trees.

utilize a rolled up burlap bag to rub them out during the late evening.

If hand destroying is not feasible, spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis or pyrethrum to help control the larvae.

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Tomato Hornworm

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Tomato Hornworm

Common names: Tomato Hornworm

Scientific name: Manduca quinquemaculata

Region: This Caterpillar is found throughout North America.

Life cycle: This insect produces one to two generations each year.  The eggs are deposited singly and hatch within three to eight days.  The larvae reach full size in three to four weeks of steady eating.  Overwintering is done as hard-shelled pupae, three to four inches below the surface of the soil.  The moths appear in May or June.  One generation is common in the North, while the South may have to contend with two or more.

Physical Description: This 4-inch long caterpillar is green with seven or eight white stripes and a black horn sticking out from the rear.  A similar caterpillar is the tobacco hornworm.  The adult moth is gray or brown with white zigzags on the rear wings and orange or brown marks on the body, and has a wingspan of 4 to 5 inches.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato plants by chewing the leaves and fruits.

Controls: The Braconid Wasp lay eggs on Caterpillars, forming little white cocoons on the skin.  Trichogramma Wasps parasitize hornworms in the egg stage.

Most plants can tolerate some feeding, but if the caterpillars become a problem, handpicking is the best approach.

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