bud eating caterpillars

Asked July 11, 2017, 10:10 AM EDT

What is the best way to control bud eating caterpillars in petunias and geraniums. I'm tired of picking them off, and I have so many!

Larimer County Colorado

1 Response

Hello,

It sounds like you have tobacco (geranium) budworm. Without a photo, I couldn't diagnose it properly, but here is a link to a Fact Sheet from CSU that includes photos of the insect: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/tobacco-geranium-budworm-5-581/

It's quite difficult to control, so physical removal (picking) is recommended. While you can use some other insecticides (see the options in the Fact Sheet above), you will need to determine if it's worth doing so. Another option would be to destroy the plants and throw them in the trash. The pupae overwinter in the soil, so it's important that you clean up your garden in the fall and remove all debris.