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Elderberry Caterpillars

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Tbean on June 05, 2006 02:17 AM
I walked out to see my elderberry bushes last night and found one of them almost completely defoliated and the other on its way to the same fate. There are 3/4 inch white worms on them, small black dots along the side, greenish yellow bottom. They aren't on any other shrubs or plants that I can see.

Does anyone know what they are? I'd like to get rid of them but I always hesitate to use any sprays because I don't want to kill any butterfly or beneficials that may be laying eggs.

Thanks.
by peppereater on June 05, 2006 03:07 AM
These may be the larva of moths, but it's just as likely they'll become butterflies. If you don't want to kill them, the plants may leaf out again once the caterpillars are through feeding...most likely they will.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on June 05, 2006 06:52 AM
Tbean,
Cabbage Loopers???????
Not sure, I think that's what I had the one year..

How is the soil where your tree is growing?
Mine was wayyyyyyy to rich for it, and I shouldn't have planted it there..

And I don't use any sprays, all organic..
I just squished.. *took awhile, but did the trick*

I love elderberry's... mine is a wild variety,
but where did you get yours????

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Tbean on June 05, 2006 09:16 AM
Weezie,

Aren't cabbage loopers green? I'm not sure. I've been squishing but my bushes are too tall to reach all of them.

My elderberries are also the native variety, I got them at our native plant sale. I have an area in my back yard that I started filling in with native trees and shrubs--nice spot for the birds and butterflies and a little less mowing.
I usually figure the birds get most of the bugs but this year has been tougher. Lots of milkweed bugs--gross but not too destructive--and a black and yellow bug that gets inside of my blackeyed susans, snakeroot, and turtlehead.
by weezie13 on June 05, 2006 09:22 AM
Do you have any pictures of your catapillars???

*yes, I believe any of the loopers' I've seen are green*

Pictures help, and if you have something we know what size is, *ie a quarter* right next to them..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by peppereater on June 06, 2006 03:42 AM
This is a link to images of the Spring Azure butterfly. The elderberry is a host plant for it, so it could be that's what the caterpillars will become.

http://images.google.com/images?q=spring+azure&svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&start=40&sa=N

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Tbean on June 06, 2006 03:21 PM
It's taken me 2 days to figure out how to get a close up on my camera--tomorrow I'll figure out how to upload them here.
I sprinkled diatomaceous earth on the elderberries and the caterpillars are nearly gone. Hope I didn't hurt anything but the caterpillars.
by brianp on July 02, 2006 10:41 AM
I’ve been collecting images of different critters that attack elderberries. I good some really cool images of an Elder Shoot Borer from Purdue University recently.

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If you don’t have an easy spot to post your photo I would welcome it in my What's Eating the Elderberries media gallery.

Just Register and you should be able to Post Images.

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