Next Caterpillar Onslaught

Just when I thought we had the cabbageworms under control, another caterpillar comes along and attacks another plant. This time it’s the sweet potatoes!

The sweet potatoes right by the door have taken on a rather holey appearance over the weekend. **Sighs** Now what?!?

The culprit was pretty easy to find. I turned over the first leaf that looked promising and saw this…

They look a lot like tussock moth caterpillars, very similar to some that we had on the sunflowers earlier this summer. Sweet potatoes are supposed to be relatively trouble free, so this is a little surprising. After doing a little research, it sounds like you aren’t supposed to worry about late-season leaf eating pests on sweet potatoes until they are 30% or more defoliated. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but we may treat anyway. The Dipel (Bt) would most likely be effective here as well. I’ll keep you posted.

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on September 9, 2013, in Insects Abound! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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