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Insect and Spider Identification: SOLVED: help with small black worms

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Forum: Insect and Spider IdentificationReplies: 5, Views: 97
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Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

July 28, 2004
5:19 AM

Post #971839

I tried an entomolgy sight with no luck, so it is up to DG folks...

When I checked my plants this evening, I found a large mass of small caterpillar-looking creatures (50+) on top of a sunflower leaf. They were black and 1/3" long, and probably just hatched. I caught them to feed to a cricket, then found more under another leaf. Upon further snooping, I found many-many of the sunflower leaves were covered with eggs underneath, and I could not crush the eggs without damaging the leaves. So I collected all the hatched ones and jarred them, then hosed the area down well. They almost look like bag worms, only no bag, and seems a little late and hot for those. I garden organically, and wonder what could dispose of them safely, since the hungry mongrels are hatching so near my Aug/Sept corn, potatoes, okra, and other important plants. (not to mention the lovely Jerusalem Sunrise Sunflowers.) Any help would be appreciated. In them morning I will mix up some squash bug spray (H2O2, Palmolive and H2O) and give that a go...
Byhalia, MS
(Zone 8a)

July 28, 2004
3:23 PM

Post #972386

If you can send a picture I will try to help. I fancy myself a bit of a "bug expert"

To control without pesticides have you tried tobasco spray? It works well on many pests but test a spot first, can cause leaf burn on some plants.
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 28, 2004
4:58 PM

Post #972565

Give me a little while, I know what those are, just can't remember right now. They love sunflowers.
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

July 29, 2004
4:40 AM

Post #973884

Well, can't get a digital picture up, but my naturalist friend who collects bugs came back from vacation and immediately said that tent caterpillar love to eat down your sunflowers, is that what you were thinking Calalily?

I caught most of them, then sprayed the leaves with a water hose yesterday evening, and this evening I prayed them with my natural bug spray. Fivelabs, haven't tried tobasco sauce before, how much do you dilute it???

Meanwhile, if you are interested, I think I have caught an unusual cricket, and will take a picture tomorrow. It will be next week before I can get it back on CD, then I will post it. Thanks, and I will keep you posted =-)
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 29, 2004
5:33 PM

Post #974712

Actually I was thinking of a small black caterpillar, they feel "soft" when you touch them and have a light brown head. They get on my sunflowers and eat holes in the leaves. Tent cats didn't even enter my mind, lol.
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

July 30, 2004
5:17 AM

Post #975845

Sounds like you are decribing a wooly worm or something like that. I have seen some around, hope they stay away from my lovely sunflowers. I took pictures of them and the damage, if I find some eggs I will take pics of those, and post it later on.

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