Caterpillar destroyed mountain laurel

Asked April 23, 2016, 10:21 AM EDT

What can I do to get rid of this caterpillar, what is it, and how can I prevent it in the future.

Baltimore County Maryland euonymus euonymus leaf notcher

1 Response

This looks like the euonymus leaf notcher, a pest of euonymus shrubs. Eggs hatch in mid-March into early April. The damage can be recognized as notching along the leaf margins and shredded leaves. Small infestations can be removed by hand or pruned out of the shrub. Bt var.kurstaki can be used soon after the caterpillars have hatched from the eggs. It is only effective on small caterpillars. Bt can be found in farm supply stores or in a garden or nursery center. There are many different manufacturers. See our website for photos and more information https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/invasives/euonymus-leaf-notcher

Since the damage occurs early in the season, control is not always necessary. There is only one generation of this pest. Although the shrubs may exhibit severe feeding damage, they typically recover by mid-summer and re-foliate.
In mid-summer and fall, you could monitor the affected shrubs for egg masses on the twigs and prune them out. Keep the shrubs well watered during dry periods.
mh