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  • Catterpillar hell

    Every year just after the Blueberries leaf out a menace descends from above. So twice a day I go around with a jar with a bit of dish detergent in it and pick the lil suckers off. This was this mornings haul, up and down the rows one time on all the BB. Luckily they don't eat figs. It lasts about 3 weeks then they are gone........before I removed the oaks it was so much worse. The first year I had the BB bed in the back of the house they stripped every leaf off every bush.........

    Yellow ones are Tussock moth cats, not sure what the other ones are.

    Click image for larger version

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    Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

  • #2
    BT should work pretty good on something like that. It has worked as good as malathion or sevin for me on similar pests.
    Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
    http://growingfruit.org/

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    • #3
      Yuck. Last year I had a fierce caterpillar attack on just my hibiscus moscheutos. Then the Japanese beetles descended on everything else. I feel your pain.
      Alma from Maryland 7b

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      • #4
        They have not arrived here yet this season. They eat and destroy apple blossoms, and our plum blossom here.
        I usually just spray with malathion but this year I'm going to spray my trees with Pyola. It contains pyrethrins
        which is supposed to be safer. I spray my trees as little as necessary but when the Red Delicious is in full bloom
        then the worms drop from a thread. The worms here last about the same amount of time then they are gone.
        Whatever is left of the blossoms are my possible apples. So far no we have ate no apples yet...I will again
        try to spray in advance before the dreaded worm drops in for a munch. Thanks for the reminder....here they come...

        Doug

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SCfigFanatic View Post
          They have not arrived here yet this season. They eat and destroy apple blossoms, and our plum blossom here.
          I usually just spray with malathion but this year I'm going to spray my trees with Pyola. It contains pyrethrins
          which is supposed to be safer. I spray my trees as little as necessary but when the Red Delicious is in full bloom
          then the worms drop from a thread. The worms here last about the same amount of time then they are gone.
          Whatever is left of the blossoms are my possible apples. So far no we have ate no apples yet...I will again
          try to spray in advance before the dreaded worm drops in for a munch. Thanks for the reminder....here they come...

          Doug
          Doug:

          Bt will allow you to kill the caterpillars and not the bees. Spraying those insecticides on during bloom is not at all bee friendly.
          Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
          http://growingfruit.org/

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          • SCfigFanatic
            SCfigFanatic commented
            Editing a comment
            "Spraying those insecticides on during bloom is not at all bee friendly."
            I spray before the blossoms open. I did not mention that for the bee people.

            here's what ya missed

            "yet...I will again
            try to spray in advance before the dreaded worm drops in for a munch."

            Thanks for the concern.
            Bee's are important.
            Doug
            Last edited by SCfigFanatic; 03-25-2015, 10:14 AM.

        • #6
          Try dipel, use the commecial stuff not the liquid they sell in the big box stores. Spray the plants and trees around your planting, you can even put it out through the sprinklers if you system has the saftey requirements to do chemigation. This is safe for organic production and is very effective on young caterpillars.
          Masaryktown FL. Zone 9b

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          • #7
            I have tried "Spinosad" (a bug neurotoxin, that is extracted from bacteria and it is considered organic) on cats (I mean caterpillars) and it killed them. The catch, spinosad also kills bees so don't spray spinosad when bees are active. Spinosad is safe to spray late evening/dusk after bees are returned to their hive. Bees will be safe to return to the spinosad sprayed flowers the following morning. The beauty of this insecticide is it also kills aphids (that love only my sweetcrisp variety), and leaf hoppers (that loves only my Sunshine Blues), and thrips.
            Zone 8B, Texas

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            • #8
              We get these caterpillars by the hundred thousands. In the past. leaves will just start showing new leaf tips when the "cats" drop from huge
              trees behind a couple fruit trees. They ride the wind with a silk strand and latch on to a leaf of a fruit tree. They eat the leaf tips, then after a week or 2 blossoms start swelling. At that point I do not spray. There is nothing that can stop these worms once flowers are open.
              Even 1 day of worms eating the clean flowers will do it for a 15 foot semi dwarf apple. It's hopeless for me.

              I grow figs......a long ways from the woods.

              Have fun
              Doug



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              • #9
                Wills,
                The other darker ones look like Tent Caterpillars...
                Click image for larger version

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                https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/eng...s/is-pests#ftc
                http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fidls/ftc/tentcat.htm
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                • #10
                  http://na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fidls/ftc/tentcat.htm

                  The favored hosts of this insect are broadleaved trees: in the Northeast, sugar maple and aspens; in the Lake States, quaking aspen and oaks; in the Appalachians and in the Central States, oaks; in the Midsouth and in southern coastal States, water tupelo, sweetgum, and swamp blackgum; in the Mississippi Valley, cottonwood and elms; in Texas, oaks; and in the Northwest, red alder and willow. Other tree species fed upon include birch, cherry, basswood, and ash. Species not fed upon are red maple, sycamore, and most conifers. After they have stripped trees, the caterpillars feed on wild and ornamental shrubs and even the leaves of cultivated fruits and vegetables

                  More interesting information on tent caterpillars in that link.

                  I do believe that is the worm I get hanging from trees.

                  And, they do eat the most tender fig leaves, but not so much the old tough ones.
                  These caterpillars are the worst problem critter each spring. I do a pre bloom spray, and after bloom spray but these things
                  can strip a tree of leaves in just a couple days. You have to have them to know the damage they can do.


                  Doug


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                  • #11
                    I guess I'm lucky so far. I have only Live Oaks and no worms yet.
                    Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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                    • #12
                      It is my fault I planted that tree too close to the woods.
                      The worms can get to my figs if it is super windy but they get my apple every year..

                      Doug

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                      • #13
                        BT will work better if you spray it while the caterpillars are small. I would start spraying a few week before you have an issue. You know where you are now and those are big caterpillars so for next year mark the calendar for ~3-4 weeks before today for next year. If you have more than 1 hatch then you might have to do it a more over the summer. If you look at the size of the caterpillars you can see they hatched within a week of each other. If you spray when they are really small it will be very effective and you will see much less damage. If your trees are not to big you could cover them with remay which can be a help.
                        NC Zone 7a-b

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                        • #14
                          So far apple blossoms not open but close.
                          No worms hanging from threads yet, maybe the cold killed em this year?
                          I do not want to spray at all if they are not going to be a problem.

                          Doug

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                          • #15
                            Sharon,

                            In this case the caterpillars are actually up in the oak trees but when the wind blows and if they fall out of the trees they just climb up what they come to looking for something to eat. Generally the small cats don't fall out, just the bigger ones.
                            Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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                            • #16
                              WillsC, the worms I get hang from a thread like a silk worm. It is attached to one tree then the wind blows and they sail in the wind to
                              something else close where they strip all the leaves.
                              Many of them can be found on the ground too. Wicked worm. When they attack me this year, I will get pictures of the worms hanging in the air.

                              Doug

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                              • #17
                                Doug,

                                Have you ever ID'ed them?
                                Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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                                • #18
                                  Not yet, there is more than one type. When I get pictures of them we can identify them.
                                  The more I think about it, most of the worms look more like inch worms.
                                  They have legs in front and in the back but not in the middle.
                                  And they have a thread like a spider web thread hanging out the rear.

                                  Heading out to see if the worms are hanging yet.

                                  I'm confident they will show up soon.

                                  Doug



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                                  • #19
                                    Doug,

                                    We have a few of those BIG inch worm types also but the ducks do eat those so they don't last long.
                                    Cutting sales on willsfigs.com started Nov 1 and will continue till about March 1.

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                                    • #20
                                      Here is the beginning of my worm problem. The first day they have been seen this year.
                                      Hanging from a thread they drop out of the tall trees.
                                      You can actually hear them with their droppings hitting the leaves on the ground. Disgusting worms.
                                      When you try to walk into the woods you run through strands of their silk looking web.
                                      If that aint good enough, they will strip my tree again this year.
                                      Here is the best I can do with my camera.
                                      I'm not going to get apples again, I'm ready to just cut down the tree.

                                      Doug

                                      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.

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