3. Caterpillars (many species)
Soft, segmented larvae with distinct, harder head capsule; six legs in front, fleshy false legs on rear segments.
Host/Range: Many fruits and vegetables, ornamentals, shade trees. Range varies with species.
Damage: Caterpillars chew on leaves or along margins; droppings soil the produce; some tunnel into fruits.
Control: Encourage native predators, parasites; hand pick; apply floating row covers; spray with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or spinosad.
4. Cutworms (several species)
Fat, 1-inch-long, gray or black segmented larvae; active at night.
Host/Range: Most early vegetable and flower seedlings, transplants. Found throughout North America.
Damage: Cutworms chew through stems at ground level; they may completely devour small plants; most damaging in May and June.
Control: Use cutworm collars on transplants; delay planting; hand pick cutworms curled below soil surface; scatter bran baits mixed with Btk (B.t. var. kurstaki) and molasses before planting.