Problematic caterpillars are commonly found on plants grown both indoors and outdoors. Some caterpillars feed on particular plant types or feed on crops in a certain plant family – for example, imported cabbageworm and diamondback moth feed on plants in the cole crop family, which includes ornamental cabbage and kale.
The lifecycle consists of an egg, caterpillar or larva, pupa and adult. Adult female moths, which are generally most active at night but can be seen during the daytime, lay eggs on leaf undersides. Eggs hatch into caterpillars that consume plant foliage.
The majority of caterpillars damage plants by eating plant parts, including leaves and flowers. They may eat the entire leaf or parts of it, leaving the mid-vein. The presence of fecal deposits (frass) on plant leaves is an indication of caterpillar activity.
To control caterpillar problems, pest control materials are used. Most of these materials have contact activity only, so thorough coverage of all plant parts is essential. The most effective material we use works best when applied while caterpillars are still young.