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Caterpillars are eating my flowers!

ChrisL

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I couldn't find the gardening thread, but I have a funny gardening story and an issue too.

First of all, I had petunias in flower pots last year, which are annuals, so this year I thought they wouldn't come back. Well apparently they dropped seeds and were actually coming back, but I thought they were weeds, so I was picking them out until I decided to let one grow out and saw that it was a petunia! :lol: That's the funny part, me weeding the flowers; shows what an amateur I am! LOL!

Apparently the wet and humid conditions were just right for cultivating the seeds, so now I have petunias! Anyway, I've been having problems with caterpillars eating them, and I was wondering if anyone knows of any home remedies that actually WORK to get rid of the caterpillars without harming the flowers. They actually burrow into the flowers before they open and destroy them from the inside out. Buggers!
 

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I couldn't find the gardening thread, but I have a funny gardening story and an issue too.

First of all, I had petunias in flower pots last year, which are annuals, so this year I thought they wouldn't come back. Well apparently they dropped seeds and were actually coming back, but I thought they were weeds, so I was picking them out until I decided to let one grow out and saw that it was a petunia! :lol: That's the funny part, me weeding the flowers; shows what an amateur I am! LOL!

Apparently the wet and humid conditions were just right for cultivating the seeds, so now I have petunias! Anyway, I've been having problems with caterpillars eating them, and I was wondering if anyone knows of any home remedies that actually WORK to get rid of the caterpillars without harming the flowers. They actually burrow into the flowers before they open and destroy them from the inside out. Buggers!
It sounds like it might be tobacco bud worms. Petunias are in the same plant family as tobacco and are attacked by some of the same pests.

Look for products containing "B.T.". It stands for bacillis thuringiensis, which is a bacteria that attacks the caterpillers. It isn't a home remedy, but neither is it a toxic chemical.
 

ChrisL

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It sounds like it might be tobacco bud worms. Petunias are in the same plant family as tobacco and are attacked by some of the same pests.

Look for products containing "B.T.". It stands for bacillis thuringiensis, which is a bacteria that attacks the caterpillers. It isn't a home remedy, but neither is it a toxic chemical.
Thanks much! I have the day off today, so was going to try to concoct my own "remedy" to do battle with the evil caterpillars. But if no one has any ideas for me, I just might take a ride to the store and see if I can find that.
 

MaggieD

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I couldn't find the gardening thread, but I have a funny gardening story and an issue too.

First of all, I had petunias in flower pots last year, which are annuals, so this year I thought they wouldn't come back. Well apparently they dropped seeds and were actually coming back, but I thought they were weeds, so I was picking them out until I decided to let one grow out and saw that it was a petunia! :lol: That's the funny part, me weeding the flowers; shows what an amateur I am! LOL!

Apparently the wet and humid conditions were just right for cultivating the seeds, so now I have petunias! Anyway, I've been having problems with caterpillars eating them, and I was wondering if anyone knows of any home remedies that actually WORK to get rid of the caterpillars without harming the flowers. They actually burrow into the flowers before they open and destroy them from the inside out. Buggers!
Home Remedy
Garlic is a naturally acidic substance that will kill and repel caterpillars. You can use garlic in a variety of ways. In a spray bottle, mix two cups of water with two spoonfuls of garlic powder. Add a teaspoon of dish soap, which will create an adhesive element that will allow the spray to stick to caterpillars and plant leaves. Spray onto the caterpillars as well as surrounding shrubbery and soil.

If you prefer to use garlic cloves, dice and sprinkle around vegetation, which will repel but not kill the caterpillars unless they come into direct contact with the garlic. To use fresh garlic most effectively, grind a handful of cloves into a dusting, and add to three cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray onto plant leaves and surrounding areas to kill caterpillars, and repeat every few weeks to keep them away.



Read more: Home Remedy Caterpillar Killer | eHow
If it were me, I'd try this one. 'Course I have a lot of garlic in the house, as it turns out.
 

ChrisL

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They will do that. They're mean buggers! I tell you.
I have more problems with caterpillars where I live. They poop everywhere in the spring, all over my lawn furniture and table. In the summer, they eat all my plants. They are disgusting and destructive little critters for sure!
 

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If it were me, I'd try this one. 'Course I have a lot of garlic in the house, as it turns out.
Sounds like a great idea and easy too! Thanks Maggie, I'll give it a try! :)
 

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I have more problems with caterpillars where I live. They poop everywhere in the spring, all over my lawn furniture and table. In the summer, they eat all my plants. They are disgusting and destructive little critters for sure!
Are they the hairy kind? Or are they the rubbery type the Chinese will eat?
 

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Are they the hairy kind? Or are they the rubbery type the Chinese will eat?
They're little tiny green ones. Really small.
 

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I second Gardeners "B.T." recommendation, look for a product called "dipel dust". It is relatively inexpensive, fast, and extremely effective against caterpillars. Just sprinkle it on the vegetation, then when the caterpillar comes along he ingests the leaf with the bacterium on it - which then kills the caterpillars.
 

ChrisL

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Someone mentioned tobacco horn worms and that is what they look like.

275px-Tobacco_Hornworm_1.jpg
 

ChrisL

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I second Gardeners "B.T." recommendation, look for a product called "dipel dust". It is relatively inexpensive, fast, and extremely effective against caterpillars. Just sprinkle it on the vegetation, then when the caterpillar comes along he ingests the leaf with the bacterium on it - which then kills the caterpillars.
Cheaper than garlic? :mrgreen:
 

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BT- bacillus thurengensis (not sure if I spelled that correctly :lol:)
It works for caterpillar-type pests. It's usually the only type of *chemical* I use in the garden.
 

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Cheaper than garlic? :mrgreen:
I would say in the long run, yes it is. A little bit goes a long way, plus it is very easy to use. The toughest thing you will have to do is get your butt in the car to go and get it.
 

ChrisL

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I would say in the long run, yes it is. A little bit goes a long way, plus it is very easy to use. The toughest thing you will have to do is get your butt in the car to go and get it.
I hate going to the store for stuff like that, I always end up leaving with other stuff that I didn't intend to buy. :lol:
 

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I second Gardeners "B.T." recommendation, look for a product called "dipel dust". It is relatively inexpensive, fast, and extremely effective against caterpillars. Just sprinkle it on the vegetation, then when the caterpillar comes along he ingests the leaf with the bacterium on it - which then kills the caterpillars.
It does work well on most caterpillars but, we have a infestation on our .Mountain Laurals that nothing we use completely removes.

Anyone?
 

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Got a pic?
No but, I can get one. They're about ?1.5 inches long, multicolored, eat the leaves and make webs in which they lay their young.

They're ONLY on on the Mt. Laurals.
 

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They're little tiny green ones. Really small.
Then they probably deep fry fast. Very crunchy I am told. But you don't want them in the flowers.
 

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That's them and from what I read they're not easy to get rid of.

These critters have come back year after year and decimated the Mt. Laurals. We have one that grew on the other side of the yard that's not affected at all. The infected ones were all bought and planted at the same time.
 

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That's them and from what I read they're not easy to get rid of.

These critters have come back year after year and decimated the Mt. Laurals. We have one that grew on the other side of the yard that's not affected at all. The infected ones were all bought and planted at the same time.
According to the link, BT should work. I gather that you have tried it, and it didn't. ???
 

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According to the link, BT should work. I gather that you have tried it, and it didn't. ???
Yep. Tried to stay away from harsh insecticides but, did try 7 dust. My Wife would go out in the evenings and hand remove them till it got to be futile. She wants to just cut them all down.
 

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Yep. Tried to stay away from harsh insecticides but, did try 7 dust. My Wife would go out in the evenings and hand remove them till it got to be futile. She wants to just cut them all down.
How often have you applied the BT. Did you spray the undersides of the leaves too?
 

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How often have you applied the BT. Did you spray the undersides of the leaves too?
Yes...At least a couple of times. There is another product that last longer than BT that we haven't tried.

We've been in a persistent drought here in south central Texas for several years. We have deer eating stuff they wouldn't normally eat so, I'm guessing these bugs are just as hungry.
 
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