Garden pests are a pain and Cannabis certainly has no shortage of pests. So for today’s pest profile we’re going to discuss caterpillars, a common pest you may find yourself dealing with in a cannabis grow.
What are they?
Caterpillars are the larval form of moths and butterflies. Caterpillars are voracious eaters. They eat the soft tissues of plants, and the damage they cause is often visible as they chew through leaves and flowers. Additionally, a caterpillar infestation can lead to fungal infections such as bud rot (Botrytis) when they defecate on the flowers or injure stems with their bite.
What to Look For
There are several things to look for with caterpillars. Since some caterpillars are relatively large, they can be spotted visually. However, adult butterflies will lay eggs on the higher leaves of the plant, so seeing this occur is your first clue. The eggs are small and it’s useful to have a magnifying device handy if you’re looking for them. Another sign of infestation is the obvious foliage damage.
How to Treat/Prevent
There are a number of effective treatments available to stop a caterpillar infestation, with many of them being biological remedies. These products are specifically made for larval pests and contain bacillus bacteria that occur naturally in soil. Additionally, plants can be inspected regularly and any eggs or larvae can be removed by hand.
Now you know your caterpillar basics. Make sure to check out the rest of the articles in our Pest Profile series.
Growers Network’s Pest Profile: Spider MitesOctober 15, 2018
Growers Network’s Pest Profile: Slugs and SnailsOctober 14, 2018
Growers Network’s Pest Profile: Leaf MinersOctober 13, 2018
Growers Network’s Pest Profile: GrasshoppersOctober 12, 2018
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About the Author
Chris DeWildt is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Western Kentucky University. He worked in education and publishing for ten years before joining the team at Growers Network.