Are you looking to find ways on how to get rid of asp caterpillars in your garden? Perhaps as you were walking through your beautifully-tended garden you spotted a group of small moths flying all around it. You probably didn’t think that it was an issue until you took one long, hard look at the moth that just landed on one of your ornamental shrubs.
A Closer Look at the Asp Caterpillar
The asp caterpillar, also known as the puss caterpillar, is characterized by its long hairs, as well as its wings’ flannel-like appearance. In case you’re not aware, this happens to be a venomous stinging creature that you wouldn’t want to have in your botanical oasis. In most cases, gardening enthusiasts usually spot these creatures during certain times of the year, particularly when the climate is mostly dry.
They look cute and furry
The colors of these unwanted insects can be gray, yellow, blond, or reddish-brown and its shape almost looks like a teardrop. However, what sets the asp caterpillar apart is its long and silky hairs that look a lot like fur.
In fact, children who spot them often gush about how cute and furry these creatures are. Many of them make the mistake of touching these caterpillars. For this reason, it’s best to advise your kids not to touch it should they see one in your garden.
They feed on foliage
Just like any other type of caterpillar, the asp caterpillar won’t be able to resist the foliage of different kinds of trees and shrubs. They would gladly feast on the leaves of elms, oaks, pecans, hackberry, and hollies without thinking twice.
They’re extremely dangerous
While these pests may rarely cause serious damage to your favorite plants, they can pose a health hazard to you and your loved ones. Children and the elderly are usually the ones who are susceptible to their sting.
The asp caterpillar’s venomous hair embeds themselves in the exposed skin of anyone who touches them.
Needless to say, these caterpillars pose a huge health hazard to anyone who comes in contact with them. It’s also important to note that the older and bigger the asp caterpillar is, the more venom it carries.
What Happens to a Person Who Gets Stung by an Asp Caterpillar?
The asp caterpillar’s victims usually complain of immediate pain that occurs at the site of the sting. Soon, a reddish, grid-like pattern will soon become more apparent on the sting site. It can be noted that this pattern would look a lot like the pattern of the asp caterpillar’s venomous spines.
Furthermore, other possible symptoms would include splitting headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Other more serious effects of an asp caterpillar’s sting would be difficulty breathing or shock.
Tips on How to Get Rid of Asp Caterpillars
If you find yourself dealing with an asp caterpillar, take caution. These fleecy, furry, harmless-looking yard insects can a vicious thing. Here’s how you can safely get rid of asp caterpillars:
Tip #1: Protect yourself and your family
Once an asp caterpillar infestation is detected, be sure to advise everyone in your household to steer clear of the area so that they won’t get stung. Next, make sure that you’re properly dressed to handle the matter.
Since it’s possible for these creatures to suddenly drop out of trees without you noticing, don’t enter infested areas without a wide-brimmed hat, a shirt that’s buttoned at the neck, as well as sturdy and heavy rubber gloves. Inspect your clothing as often as possible. Should you see an asp caterpillar on your clothing, remove them with your gloved hand and place them in any type of container that contains soapy water to seal their fate. Flush these creatures down the drain.
Tip #2: Don’t lean against anything without checking the surface
In case you’re not aware, mature asp caterpillars tend to leave their feeding places to find another spot where they can spin a cocoon. As they move to a different location, they may be found crawling somewhere in the infested garden. For this reason, it’s best to avoid leaning against any surface or sitting down without first checking for the presence of these caterpillars.
Tip #3: Use rosemary oil
Did you know that rosemary oil can be a natural pesticide? The best part is, they won’t harm the beneficial insects that kill the asp caterpillars. Grab a squirt bottle and place rosemary oil in it. Spray it on every asp caterpillar you see.
While you can always eliminate asp caterpillars with the use of traditional pesticides, experts advise against it. Since these types of pesticides also eliminate the asp caterpillar’s natural predators, you’ll run the risk of a re-infestation in the next season.
Tip #4: Use Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt)
If you’re not interested in hunting down or handling these caterpillars, you can simply go for the most effective solution called Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt). This happens to be bacteria that naturally occurs in soil and it’s known to eliminate asp caterpillars by causing damage to their stomach lining. Whether you have Bt in powder or liquid form, just dust or mist it onto your plants.
Don’t worry, Bt won’t cause any harm to humans, your plants, pets, and other beneficial insects. It’s only toxic to asp caterpillars and some other worms and moths that can destroy your garden.
Planning to Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?
Don’t stop yourself from getting into greenhouse gardening. Aside from having more control over your plants’ growing environment, this can also help keep those asp caterpillars at bay. Now that you know how to get rid of asp caterpillars, deal with them as soon as you can!