Caterpillar Identification

Asked September 12, 2018, 9:14 AM EDT

What is the name of a dark brown caterpillar with two light grey stripes? It is hairless. It is resting and eating our zinnia plants. It is a butterfly or a moth? Thanks for your time and response!

New Castle County Delaware

3 Responses

Zinnias are not usually greatly bothered by caterpillars. There are a few moth caterpillars that will feed on zinnias, but they may be there because they were feeding on surrounding plants or weeds nearby. Leafroller and armyworm (also called leafworm) caterpillars are several moth larvae that may be a problem for zinnias. If there aren't too many, you can remove them by hand. If it is an infestation, you may want to consider a natural pesticide such as Spinosad, which is made from bacteria. The life cycle of caterpillars is fairly short, so if the caterpillars are not doing a great deal of damage, you can leave them alone because they will soon disappear to pupate and turn into moths. It is tricky to identify moths from their caterpillars because they may change color as they grow.

Thank you !!