Caterpillars are easy to identify in the garden. Most are large enough to capture by hand and remove, but it is more efficient to protect your plants with a natural repellent.
Beneficial Plants and Insects
Attract beneficial insects to your garden. Plant nectar-producing flowers to lure parasitic wasps. These small, harmless wasps lay eggs inside caterpillars and reduce populations significantly. Plants in the umbelliferae family attract hoverflies that feed on caterpillars.
Homemade caterpillar repellents offer some protection. Gardeners use water-based mixtures of garlic, red pepper, orange peels, peppermint and liquid soap. Chop ingredients in a blender, strain into a spray bottle and apply to plants.
Floating row covers are lightweight, light permeable covers. These covers protect plants from caterpillars, birds and other pests. Protect tomatoes, peas, pepper and other crops from cutworms with a paper collar. Wrap a 4- to 6-inch strip of foil or cardboard around the stem of the plants, pushing the collar 2 inches into the soil.
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