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Reducing Caterpillars Naturally Without Chemicals

That wonderful childhood book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is no fairytale, caterpillars really are very hungry.  It is their sole purpose in life to eat and the sheer quantity of leaves, flowers, fruit and shoot that they consume can be too much for some plants to bear. 

Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies.  They begin as eggs, if you see leaves that are webbed shut you will find the eggs inside.

Many species are harmless and most can be tolerated in regular numbers.  It's when populations swell or when plants are struggling that they may need controlling.

Here are some tips for reducing caterpillars naturally;

A fine netting will stop moths and butterflies from laying eggs.

Watch out for closed up leaves and webbing, either pick off or open and clean leaves that have been used as 'nests'.

Pick off and rehome caterpillars.

Use Fruit & Veg nematodes when you first spot caterpillars, follow the instructions carefully.

Instructions for key species;

General Caterpillars - Treat as soon as pest is seen and weekly until infestation clears then fortnightly to keep them away, soil temperature must be above 12° 

Gooseberry Sawfly - Treat as soon as pest is seen and weekly until infestation clears then fortnightly to keep them away, soil temperature must be above 12° 

Coding Moth & Oriental Fruit Moth - best treated September/October and when air temperatures are 14° to 30° 

Box Tree Moth - Treat in Spring and mid summer,  3 applications 2 weeks apart at each treatment time

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