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Home Pests Caterpillars and butterfly larva

Caterpillars and butterfly larva

Butterfly larva and moths cause damage to the veins of fruit and ornamental crops. The caterpillars can cause damage all year round because they only want one thing, and that is to food. Various species are common pests in agriculture and horticulture: Turkish moth (Chrysodeixis chalcites), Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea), cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae), Duponchelia moth (Duponchelia fovealis), tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) and the carnation tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana).

Life cycle

Caterpillars are butterfly larvae. Butterflies lay their eggs on a host plant. Caterpillars develop faster in a warm environment. As  they develop, caterpillars shed their skin several times because the skin does not grow. This happens four to five times. The last moult is different than the previous ones as the caterpillar now develops into a chrysalis.

Caterpillars can be found in many places throughout the year. Most butterfly species are present as caterpillars between April and September. Caterpillars are very glutinous and cause considerable damage to fruit and ornamental crops.

Damage scenarios

  • Feeding damage usually begins at the bottom of the leaf. At a later stage the fruit and flowers are also damaged.
  • Caterpillar faeces may also damage the plant.
  • Depending on the location of the eggs, caterpillars may also damage the fruits and flowers from the inside.

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