I am growing a pair of small apple trees. Lately I have started to find...

Asked May 1, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT

I am growing a pair of small apple trees. Lately I have started to find caterpillars like the one in the attached photo on the Fuji apple tree. For some reason I have not found them on the Granny Smith apple tree. At first I thought I was starting to get Eastern Tent Caterpillars, but on further thought, I don't think they look like them. There is also no evidence of tents or other silk structures. What are they and what is an effective organic control method? Thank you! Angie

Montgomery County Maryland apple insects fruit insect identification

2 Responses

This is not a common apple pest. It does not look like it is defoliating your tree. It looks like it might be a red spotted purple caterpillar which becomes a very lovely butterfly. Google it and see if it looks like what you have. We would not try to kill it. There is no organic method of control other than smashing--if you feel that you have to. It is too large for Bt to be effective. vw

Thank you! That appears to be exactly what it is! I'm glad that I could not bring myself to kill the caterpillars, so I just moved them to a much bigger willow tree. Apparently they also like willows. If I find anymore, I will just let them be!