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A small green caterpillar... #151774 - Ask Extension

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A small green caterpillar... #151774

Asked September 09, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

A small green caterpillar has eaten the flowers on my beautiful wavy petunias. Can you tell me how to get rid of them? This has happened 2 years in a row. I think it is a Tobacco Worm.

Douglas County Nebraska

Expert Response

Thank you for your question. To give our specialist a little more information to aid in identifying the culprit, could you tell me where you live?
Lisa Jasa Replied September 09, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT
Omaha, NE
The Question Asker Replied September 09, 2013, 4:17 PM EDT
It is probably a tobacco budworm caterpillar; could also be a hornworm as you suggest.

Hornworm larvae have a thin 'horn' projecting at their tail end; budworm caterpillars do not.

For control a low-toxic approach would be to use a spray containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), or an insecticidal soap starting at flowering.  Moths are attracted to lay eggs on flowering plants, and it may be at risk from infestation as long as it is flowering; so repeated applications may be necessary.

Robert Wright Replied October 10, 2013, 9:41 AM EDT

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