Caterpillars rely on strawberry plants as an important food source. But gardeners often find the chewed-on leaves less than desirable. The caterpillars are butterfly or moth species, and while they leave unsightly leaves, they seldom hurt the berries.
Several species of caterpillars eat strawberry plants, including the corn earworm. Also known as the tomato fruitworm or boilworm, the caterpillar prefers corn plants, but it also eats more than 100 plants, including strawberry. Garden webworms also feed on strawberry plants.
Look for leaves with chew marks or holes. Watch for the caterpillars themselves on the leaves of the plants. You may also find spider webs made by webworms. Look on the undersides of the leaves for eggs laid on the foliage.
Gardeners who encourage butterflies in their garden need to be careful as to which method they use to control the creatures. One way to control caterpillars is to handpick them off your strawberry plants. Make sure to get rid of the caterpillars so they don't infest other plants. Insecticides may work, but they should be used as a last choice.
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