Although they don't look menacing, caterpillars can be extremely destructive in gardens and flowering trees. Caterpillars eat their way through leafy plants, flowers and fruits and lay eggs that will hatch into more caterpillars to continue the destruction. If not controlled, caterpillars can decimate a garden and even kill the plants in them. By physically removing caterpillars from the garden and by destroying their eggs, you can control a caterpillar population. Other nontoxic methods can also be applied to repel caterpillars to keep your garden safe from these pests.
Things You'll Need
- Dish soap
- Metal container
- Matches or lighter
- Kerosene or lighter fluid
- Crushed white egg shells
- Bird feeders or birdhouses
- Spray bottle
How to Remove Caterpillars and Their Eggs
Remove any visible caterpillars or caterpillar eggs by hand and destroy them. Caterpillars and their eggs can be destroyed by drowning them in a solution of water and dish soap or by burning them in a metal container by igniting crumpled newspaper.
Create your own nontoxic insecticide spray to ward off and kill horned worm caterpillars by filling a spray bottle with water and dish soap. Lightly spray the plants affected by caterpillars with this mixture. The dish soap will kill the caterpillars but will not harm your plants.
Remove tent worm nests from trees by winding them around a stick or by cutting away the branches to which the nest is attached. Destroy the nests by dousing them in kerosene or lighter fluid and burning them.
How to Repel Caterpillars
Scatter crushed white egg shells on and around the plants most affected by caterpillars. Certain moths and butterflies, such as the cabbage white butterfly, that visit these plants to lay their eggs will mistake the egg shells for other moths and may move on to other, less-populated plants to lay their eggs.
Set up bird feeders and birdhouses in your yard or garden. Birds are natural predators of caterpillars and moths; if you can attract more birds to the area, you will have more predators to prey on the caterpillars.
Create an environment in your garden that is attractive to wasps that will naturally prey on caterpillars. Plants, such as fennel, dill and spearmint, are known to attract a type of parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on caterpillars. When the wasp eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the caterpillar and kill it.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
How to Get Rid of Tent Caterpillars
Tent caterpillars are moth larvae that live together inside protective silken tents. The pests attack a wide range of broadleaf trees and...
How to Keep Caterpillars From Destroying Plants
Caterpillars may eventually turn into big, beautiful butterflies, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them destroying your plants....
How to Make a Spray to Kill Caterpillars
Caterpillars are a common garden pest. They eat away at plants and do a lot of damage in your garden. This spray...
How to Get Rid of Caterpillars
Caterpillars can damage trees, bushes, flowers and vegetable plants. Options for controlling them range from handpicking to spray schedules.
How to Kill Tree Caterpillars
Caterpillars are the larval stage of moths and butterflies. Though the adult insects do not inflict serious damage to trees, caterpillars are...
How to Kill Caterpillars in the Garden
Caterpillars, which are undeveloped moths and butterflies, are prevalent pests in vegetable and flower gardens. Although caterpillars eventually evolve into butterflies, which...
How to Kill Caterpillar Nests
A variety of different caterpillars spin silky, tent-like nests on trees. Depending on your location, local caterpillars may feed primarily on pine...
Home Remedy Caterpillar Killer
Caterpillars often are troublesome lawn and garden pests that can destroy a landscape in short order. Feeding on shrubbery and plant leaves,...