Pest Identification: Caterpillars
Most Common Types
Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths of the order Lepidoptera. Some of the most common are monarch caterpillars, swallowtail caterpillars, silkmoth caterpillars, tiger moth caterpillars, and tent caterpillars.
What They Look Like
With more than 20,000 known speciesof caterpillar in the world, the insects exhibit a wide range of colors including yellow, black, orange, red, green, blue, white, and brown. They often bear resemblance to the plants they eat. Most caterpillars are 1 to 2 inches in length. While some are very hairy, others are smooth-skinned.
Where They Live
Caterpillars can be found in nearly every type of habitat including beaches, forests and rainforests, grasslands and savannahs, and mountains. There are even caterpillars in parts of the Arctic.
Where They Nest
Caterpillars are voracious eating machines that live among the leaves and plants they rely on for survival.
Steps to Prevent
Farmers use pesticides to limit damage caused caterpillars such as the cotton bollworm. Caterpillars in the garden can be removed by hand.
Are They Harmful?
Caterpillars damage agricultural produce and crops. They attack foliage, tunnel in wood, and feed on roots, seeds, and fruits. Caterpillars are generally not physically threatening to humans.