• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

Help! My plants are getting eaten!!

 
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi guys!

Was just wondering if anyone could help me out, I live in southern Canada and these green caterpillars are doing a lot of damage to my plants !

What are they and how do I get rid of them? Preferably a natural method!

Thanks!
380E0F4D-7D3B-4AAA-A838-E32BA1DF8F8F.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 380E0F4D-7D3B-4AAA-A838-E32BA1DF8F8F.jpeg]
C001C131-44D5-423D-8035-EF84DD8F6F2E.jpeg
[Thumbnail for C001C131-44D5-423D-8035-EF84DD8F6F2E.jpeg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 3488
Location: Toronto, Ontario
464
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am not sure what kind of caterpillar that is, but usually, unless it's completely infested, I just pick them off by hand. I drop them into a cup or pail with some soap and water in it, and they die.

In the case of tented branches, usually with tent caterpillars, I bag the branch and cut it off. I like to use heavy kraft paper leaf bags because they burn nicely when I then throw the package on the burn pile.

The in-between method usually involves spraying the affected branches and leaves with soapy water.

It's certainly possible to get them without killing the plant, but other methods usually harm the plant more.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 708
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
82
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I plant things and provide habitats that wasps like. As much as yellow jackets are disliked, they are effective hunters and I'll see them a lot searching for caterpillars. But to achieve that you need to be proactive about it rather than reactive to the situation when it happens.

If you can't get another organism to do the job (wasps, birds etc) then you will have to do it yourself unfortunately.
 
pollinator
Posts: 502
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
99
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:I am not sure what kind of caterpillar that is, but usually, unless it's completely infested, I just pick them off by hand. I drop them into a cup or pail with some soap and water in it, and they die.



Yeah, I pick them off too--and step on them.  My son will help me but refuses to touch them without a gardening glove on.

My chickens won't eat caterpillars, though I'm hoping our new ducks will (cabbage worm season is starting soon here).  My philosophy is live and let live with most things in my garden, but I squish cabbage worms and slugs/snails on sight.
 
gardener
Posts: 1777
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
604
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Natali - welcome to permies!

I agree with Chris although I'll tell a related story: The first spring after I arrived in BC corresponded to the 7 year high in tent caterpillar cycle and the apple trees near the house were being consumed. My husband insisted on trying the "burn them approach" but I was afraid there wouldn't be much of a tree left. Instead, every morning I went out wearing rubber gloves, pulled the tents off and stomped on them on the driveway. I also learned that if I saw a tent caterpillar with a white dot on it, it had been infected by a parasitic wasp that would get the whole problem under control if the "white dotted tent caterpillar" was allowed to live. That experience got me moving towards permaculture - working with nature, so she'll help us out.

So Chris's approach will save this year's crop, but reading lots of the forums here at Permies will help you follow that up with Nick's approach and the many other things we do here to promote a healthy, inclusive, diversified garden/polyculture/food forest that will help prevent a single troublemaker from invading in the future. I leave any wasp nests that aren't in a problem location and that aren't being aggressive towards me, but I also leave plants to go to seed so the birds will hang out and eat bugs, and the ornamental pond installed by the last owner is largely left alone during tadpole season. I've been here 20 years now and I see birds, snakes, frogs and friendly wasps all the time. Last year I had to apologize to a tree frog who was hiding in the lettuce plant I was picking leaves from. I thought the squishy feeling was a banana slug I was going to have to re-locate, only to discover a ticked-off frog! I carefully replaced it among some leaves I wasn't planning to pick.

If you want to do double duty, find someone with chickens and see if they like them. (Chickens *don't* like the taste of tent caterpillars.) I had a friend who was having a bad slug problem and she used to save her slugs in a bucket for my ducks. Once she got her garden diversity up, the slugs no longer took over.
 
No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. This time, do it with this tiny ad:
Chemerical by Take Action Films (Streaming)
https://permies.com/wiki/chemerical
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!