How To Get Rid of Caterpillars

By Subodh / July 10, 2009

Caterpillars look like worms and give a yucky feeling particularly when you find them on your vegetables. While we know caterpillars finally become beautiful butterflies, if they have become overly hungry and affecting your plants it is time to get rid of them.

One of the common ways to get rid of them is use of BT which is a bacteria used for controlling caterpillars to grow beyond limits. These are easily available in the market in liquid as well in dry form. This is used by spraying on plants on which the caterpillar feeds. When the caterpillar comes in contact with these bacteria and consumes it, the bacteria tends to multiply in its body. They destroy the digestive system of the caterpillar with protein crystals which leads to its death in no time. Once dead, the body of the caterpillar splits open letting the bacteria free into your garden which further protects it. The conditions which lead to the multiplication of these bacteria are found only in the body of caterpillars and hence other creatures and humans are safe.

BT can be applied in liquid form by putting 20 ml of it into a gallon of water and spraying it over a 30 square meter garden. This should be sprayed lightly to ensure there is not too much of a concentration on only a few plants. This exercise can be repeated weekly till the time the existence of caterpillars reduces post which it can be done once in a while. The powder form of BT is not advisable to use as it might lead to too much of a concentration on some plants which may be harmful to the plants. However, it can be used during monsoon which would ensure that the plants are moist enough to absorb it. Care should be taken to use BT in areas where there are no fertilizers, urea or antibiotics used as this can otherwise kill the bacteria.

Some other ways to get rid of them are to simply pick them up and crush them under your foot. Care should be taken to wear gloves while doing this. Destroying their nests is another way to get rid of them. It is easy to spot caterpillar nests especially during autumn when the leaves have fallen.

Putting pests in your gardens which feed on caterpillars could be an effective way to kill caterpillars. Caterpillars are very rich in proteins and many pests like lizards, frogs, etc feed on them. However, it should be ensured that these pests don’t affect your garden. Some people tend to use natural methods like using a combination of garlic, chili and cloves in water and spray them on plants to kill caterpillars.

An effective prevention from caterpillars is to improve gardening practices and avoid plants which attract caterpillars. Many people just let caterpillars on their own if they are not causing too much of a havoc and let it become beautiful butterflies of tomorrow.