Caterpillars are larvae of moths and butterflies. They can be smooth, hairy or spiky. Many, including those listed in the related or similar pests below, do serious damage to garden plants. 

Damage From Caterpillars

While their winged adult forms are sometimes beneficial to flowers and gardens by aiding in pollination, the worm-like larvae are the bane of many gardeners. Caterpillars damage plants by chewing on the soft and succulent leaves, flowers, shoots and fruits, and by boring into trees and shrubs (see Borers). As they progress through their development and become larger, Caterpillars can cause increasing damage, up to the point of eating entire leaves or portions of plants.

Where Caterpillars Are Found Geographically

Caterpillars are common throughout the United States.

Related or Similar Pests 

Gypsy Moth larvae. Armyworms, Cabbage Worms. Cutworms. Horn Worms.



Cultural Controls

  • Inspect your plants regularly for signs of Caterpillar feeding.
  • Hand pick and destroy when found (exception are Slug or Saddleback Caterpillars which have poisonous spines).