Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies. Caterpillars can be smooth, hairy or spiky.



While their winged adult forms are sometimes beneficial to flowers and gardens by aiding in pollination, the worm-like larvae can be serious pests. Caterpillars can damage plants by chewing on the soft and succulent leaves, flowers, shoots and fruits of plants, and by boring into trees and shrubs (see Tree Borers). As they progress through their development and become larger, Caterpillars can cause increasing damage, up to the point of eating entire leaves.


Caterpillars are found throughout the United States.

Similar or Related Pests

Gypsy Moth larvae, Armyworms, Cabbage Worms, Cutworms, Horn Worms

Cultural Solutions

  • Inspect your garden and ornamental plants regularly for signs of Caterpillars.
  • Hand pick and discard if found with the exception of Slug or Saddleback Caterpillars because they have poisonous spines.