Caterpillars are one of the most damaging pests in a garden. They consume massive amounts of plant material, and they consume it very quickly. Fromlarge hornworms on tomatoes to swarms of army worms devouring cabbage family plants, caterpillars are notoriously hard to control. If left unchecked, caterpillars can render your garden a wasteland before you realize what has happened. Fortunately caterpillars are killed easily with bacillus thuringiensis a soil dwelling bacteria and one of of the best known organic insecticides. It is commonly referred to as BT and is easily found in both powder and liquid forms. I prefer to use the liquid form in a hand-held pump sprayer. The only catch is that the caterpillars must consume the BT to be killed. This is normally easy enough considering how much caterpillars eat. I spray the bottom of the leaves and any other surface on which the caterpillars may be found. A gallon size pressurized pump sprayer is ideal, as it holds enough liquid to last a long while…and doesn’t wear out your hand like a small hand pump sprayer.
My secret blend of caterpillar poisoning spray includes a few drop of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap , a few drops of tea tree oil, and a liquid seaweed extract to be sure the mix has something to both kill and repel pests and give something back to the plant to help it through
Caterpillars, like most vegetable garden pests, tend to seek out and attack the weakest plants first. So it is a good idea to prepare your garden soil with much organic compost and other natural amendments, as these materials will ensure a strong and vigorous vegetable plant. This should always be your first line of defense against the myriad variety of damaging garden pests.
Considering all the time, effort and resources that one devotes to the preparation and planting of a prolific promising productive garden, it is wise to keep an wary eye out for the tell tale signs of hungry caterpillars at work consuming the fruits of your labor.