How to Keep Caterpillars Out of a Garden

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Caterpillars are among the most aggravating garden pests. They're so destructive because their appetite knows no bounds. The good news is that most caterpillars can't stand limonoids, which are bitter chemical compounds found in citrus fruits. If you can saturate your garden with limonoids, you can keep the caterpillars at bay.

Things You'll Need

  • Rinds from several citrus fruits
  • Food processor
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Airtight container
  • Strainer
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Gather fresh rinds from three or four citrus fruits. Any combination of orange, lemon, grapefruit and other citrus fruit peels will work.

  • Put the rinds in a food processor. Process them until they're very finely chopped.

  • Empty the contents of the food processor into a small airtight container. Get as much of the pulp and rind bits as possible, as well as any juice that may have been released during chopping.

  • Measure about two cups of water and add it to the airtight container. Place the lid on tight and allow the mixture to set overnight.

  • Pour the mixture through a strainer to separate the pulp and rind bits from the liquid. Transfer the strained liquid to a plastic spray bottle.

  • Spray the leaves, blossoms and surrounding areas of your garden with the mixture. The limonoid particles will drive away caterpillars and discourage them from coming back.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can actually see caterpillars in your garden, you can spray them with your garden hose to knock them away.
  • Rainfall will wash your mixture away, so don't do this if rain is expected soon. Add a new layer after each rainfall.

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