One reader recently asked us, “How do I get rid of caterpillars?” She didn’t include a photo or mention any specifics about the caterpillars. We assume she wants to get rid of caterpillars in one or several trees, as that is where they are considered to be pests. Even without details of the species, we can give her some tips for getting rid of caterpillars because the procedure is similar no matter the species.
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies. There are over 20,000 species of caterpillars known to exist around the world. Caterpillars are sometimes considered pests because they can defoliate the trees they inhabit in record time. Before we talk about getting rid of these larvae, we think it is important to point out that the damage caterpillars do to trees is superficial. Although the damage may look bad, a healthy tree can handle the defoliation inflicted by caterpillars and bounce back just fine!
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That put aside, we know many people prefer their trees to be caterpillar-free. Our reader can physically shake the caterpillars out of the tree by using a broom to rustle up the leaves and branches. She can collect the fallen larvae in a bucket and dispose of them or bring them somewhere far from her yard. She can also set up a band around the trunk of the tree, near the base. This band should about a foot long and made of sticky material. There are several options, we encourage using the reverse side of duct tape. Caterpillars will not be able to climb up the tree because they will get stuck on the band. She can remove the stuck caterpillars and add them to the bucket of fallen caterpillars.
In conclusion, a reader asked us how to get rid of caterpillars. She can shake them out of her tree, or prevent them from climbing up by installing a sticky band. If she wants to pursue a chemical solution, she can visit a Home & Garden store to learn more.
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