*Note– all Products listed are intended for LEGAL gardening uses
Often the first sign of caterpillars/worms/cabbage loopers is noticing chunks of your leaves missing. You may also see clumps of black/brown “dirt” on your leaves, which is caterpillar poop. Lastly, you may actually catch a caterpillar in the act munching on your leaves!
Stop Caterpillars From Attacking Your Plants!
Caterpillars!!! Argh!!! Sometimes the first sign of caterpillars / worms / cabbage loopers is just seeing chunks of your leaves missing. You may also see clumps of black/brown “dirt” on your leaves, which is caterpillar poop. Lastly, you may actually catch a caterpillar munching on your leaves! It makes me so angry to catch them in the act!
You’ll see chunks of your leaves missing, as the caterpillars devour your leaves
Spinosad Products (safe & organic) – Spinosad products are organic and unlike many other spider mite pesticides, completely harmless to pets, children, and plants. Unlike many insecticides, you can spray spinosad heavily on leaves and roots with basically no negative effects. Spinosad products can be used directly to kill spider mites on contact, but can also be used when watering plants to systematically kill spider mites via the roots. Spinosad can also be effective at fighting caterpillars, thrips, and many other pests.
Neem Oil though Neem oil doesn’t smell as nice and will leave an unpleasant taste/smell on buds when used to treat flowering plants. There’s some evidence Neem oil may be harmful to humans so use with care! you will need a mister to get all the leaves evenly, especially since neem oil and water will separate easily.
- Caterpillar “BT” Spray Like Safer® Brand Caterpillar Killer with B.t. (safe biological insecticide) – This biological insecticide contains the bacillus thuringiensis (BT) bacteria which kills larva and prevents caterpillars from being able to eat. This is one of the most effective ways to kill caterpillars, and won’t hurt most beneficial insects. As a bonus, it also kills other garden pests like fungus gnats, worms and moths.Apply a caterpillar BT spray as soon as you see leaf damage, caterpillars or caterpillar poop. BT sprays work best on small caterpillars that are actively eating your leaves. Repeat every week for as long as you’re still seeing caterpillars, though you can give BT more often if there’s a heavy infestation. Make sure to thoroughly mist both the tops and bottoms of leaves, and apply again after a heavy rain (since that will wash the BT away). Since BT is harmless to humans, you can use BT products up to the day of harvest! One thing to keep in mind is BT spray almost instantly stops caterpillars from being able to eat, but doesn’t kill them directly. So although you may see the caterpillars alive and apparently unharmed after spraying, the BT is still doing its dirty work.
Diatomaceous Earth (like Srills 420 powder bully)– Basically, this is fossil dust – sprinkle on the top of your soil, and anywhere else in your room (window sills, doorways, etc). This powder-like substance is harmless to mammals and plants, but is incredibly sharp at the microscopic level. Therefore it will tear and dehydrate spider mites on physical contact. This will not get rid of an infestation, but can help control and slow things down when used effectively.