posted on April 25, 2010 09:05
Brugmansia Pests: Caterpillars - Inchworm
“The daily agenda of the inch worm is simple: eat, eat, avoid being eaten, and eat! Some species of caterpillar increases its mass by 30,000 times.” “In especially favorable years a single crop of inchworms can defoliate an entire stand of trees, causing great stress and even death to the trees.”
This morning I took a walk in my garden to inspect my brugmansia. Recently, I had noticed some holes in the leaves, which I had thought to be from recent heavy rains. I was surely mistaken about that speculation. The holes had grown. Many of the leaves were just gone! Upon closer inspection the culprit was the inchworm larva of the geometrid moths. The inchworm is also known as looper, measuring worm, and cankerworm.
The green inchworm resembles a green stem and is very hard to see. The color of the green inchworm is the same color green as brugmansia leaves. Usually your first clues that they are present are holes in your brugmansia leaves and droppings on the leaves. The droppings will be there unless the leaves are already gone!
For organic gardeners you may pick off the offenders or encourage caterpillar predators. For information visit: http://www.oeffa.com/tips.php?sjt=goodbugs
Here in Florida we have many Cardinals who visit the brugmansia looking for caterpillars. Normally the Cardinals eat seed but their diet also consists of “caterpillars, grasshoppers and beetles”. Inchworms are also a favorite of scrub jays and chickadees. Skinks, Big eyed Bugs, Praying Mantis, spiders, and Green lacewings also enjoy an inchworm as part of their diet.
Pesticides for caterpillars may be found at any local gardening supply, Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart.
By Delisa Harvey