The first step to controlling any pest infestation is to identify the type of caterpillar that is infesting your tree. Being able to identify the species of caterpillar that you are dealing with will allow you to do further research on the pest. This is an important step because understanding a pest's life cycle and feeding habits will allow you to determine how and when to apply the correct treatment. For example, you will treat a leaf mining caterpillar different then you will a leaf eating caterpillar. Also, one caterpillar may be more common in the spring when another species will be more common in the summer.
Once you have identified the caterpillar species, you can determine the best treatment.
Larger caterpillars like the tent caterpillar are big enough to be remove by hand and soaked in soapy water or given the "sole treatment" (squished under the sole of your shoe). Many caterpillars are so small or their numbers are so large that removing them by hand would be a very tedious task for a busy gardener.
|Removing Small Caterpillars by Hand is A Tedious Task|
Like all insect control, effective treatments are targeted and timed correctly. It is important to know the types of Lepidoptera common in your area and a little about their life cycle. For example Bt treatment that occurs right after caterpillar eggs hatch will be more effective and will prevent any damage to your fruit or your fruit trees because their first feeding will infect them with the bacteria strain before their appetite grows when they mature.
|Large Caterpillars Have Large Appetites|