Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies. Many of them, such as Leafroller caterpillars, Looper caterpillars, White Butterfly caterpillars, Diamond Back Moth caterpillars, Tomato Fruit Worm and Fall Webworm are well known to gardeners trying to grow fruit, vegetables or other plants. Caterpillars are voracious eaters. They can be regarded as eating machines whose sole purpose in life is to eat and grow to a point where they have sufficient energy stores to enable them to pupate and emerge as the adult butterfly or moth. The problem for gardeners and commercial growers is that they eat the leaves of crops and ornamental plants.

I like butterflies, and would encourage you to grow plants in your garden specifically as food for native butterflies like swan plants to feed the Monarch caterpillars or Kowhai to feed Kowhai moth caterpillar. But because when we cultivate crops, many plants of the same type grown in the same place give the pest caterpillar species that prefer these plants an unnatural feast. Numbers can explode to plague-like proportions, devouring all our hard work.

Prevent Caterpillars Eating Your Garden

Chemical insecticides such as Carbaryl can be sprayed or dusted on vegetables and fruit to kill caterpillars that might eat them. But most such insecticides will have withholding periods where the fruit or vegetables cannot be eaten after treatment. Many people would prefer to protect the crops without the use of a chemical insecticide.

Luckily, the gut of insect larvae such as caterpillars is unusual in that it is alkaline rather than acidic and the naturally occurring soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis kurtsaki (Btk) will grow in the alkaline gut. Here in the presence of insect specific gut enzymes it produces proteins that are toxic to the caterpillars.

Certified Organic Technology

Kiwicare has recently released a BioGro certified Organic NO Caterpillars which uses this Btk technology. This product can be safely sprayed on fruit and vegetables with no withholding period.

Organic NO Caterpillars controls pest insect caterpillars and other leaf eating larvae on fruit, vegetables and ornamentals. It is safe to handle, does not affect the plants or beneficial insect species but is deadly to plant damaging caterpillars when used as directed. It will control all types of caterpillars including leafroller, looper and white butterfly as well as diamond back moth larvae, tomato fruitworm, and fall webworm. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees are not harmed.

Getting The Timing Right

If possible apply to plants when caterpillars are young, before plant damage occurs. Shake your sprayer regularly to prevent settling. Spray to the point of run off (i.e. liquid begins to run off leaves). Thorough coverage is essential so try and spray undersides of leaves as well as top. Repeat spraying every 10-14 days. For improved performance and most economical use with Kiwicare NO Waste Spray Stick. Do NOT use when rain is forecast within the next 8 hours.

Make sure you enjoy your summer fruit and vegetables and not the caterpillars.

Article Brought To You By Kiwicare  kiwicare-logo-50x50

Kiwicare is New Zealand’s own manufacturer and distributor of pest control, garden care and home maintenance products. The Kiwicare website contains advice on the eradication and prevention of all sorts of pests that bother us in New Zealand. Learn how to get rid of rats and mice, flies, spiders, ants, cockroaches, fleas, bed bugs and other creepy crawlies. Protect your plants from aphids, grass grub, caterpillars, weeds and more. Keep biting insects at bay with the Safari range of insect repellents. See the BioGro certified organic range of products to help you stay pest free without chemicals.

How to Stop Caterpillars Eating Your Garden, 5.0 out of 5 based on 73 ratings

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  1. The Kiwicare website has a great new look and many new features including interactive problem solvers for home pests and garden pests, diseases and health.
    You may find some of the links in this article try and take you to the page that no longer exists. The error page however will tell you go to the home page and you will easily find the new page on the subject you seek.

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  2. Danella Rutherford says:

    thanks for this very helpful website.

    those horrible little looper caterpillars have nearly driven me mad while trying to find what was making all the holes in my Tamarillo leaves!!!

    After many times I rang egmont seeds and they were able to help me identify them and to point me to this site for assistance in being from them.

    Thank you all so much.

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