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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Tuesday Tools & Products: Oleander Caterpillars
Tuesday Tools & Products: Oleander Caterpillars Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Oleander caterpillar on leaf If your mandevilla vines or oleander shrubs are losing foliage as a result of the voracious appetites of the oleander caterpillar, then here's what you can do to stop the problem.

Oleander caterpillar on leaf

One of our Daily Dirt readers had the recent experience of having nearly all of the leaves of a mandevilla, a tropical flowering vine, skeletonized thanks to the oleander caterpillar, the larval stage of the polka dot wasp moth. The oleander caterpillar also eats the leaves of the oleander plant, which is in the same botanical family, the dogbane (Apocynaceae), as the mandevilla. While mandevilla is native to Brazil and the oleander is native to the Mediterranean regions of the world, the oleander caterpillar (Syntomeida epilais) oddly enough, is native to the tropical regions of the US as well as the Caribbean.

If your mandevilla vines or oleander shrubs are losing foliage as a result of this pest with a voracious appetite, there are a couple of things you can do to remedy the situation. For smaller plants, cutting the affected foliage (and clusters of caterpillars) off the plant is very effective; however, use caution. Plants in the dogbane plant family are poisonous to humans, birds, and small mammals, and this includes the sap. When handling foliage use gloves and wash hands right away. Place foliage in a plastic bag and freeze for 24 hours to kill the caterpillars.

There are a couple of beneficial insects that can be used for biological control. These include stinkbugs, parasitic wasps, and tachinid flies, which are also parasitic both of which lay their eggs in the larvae and pupae. And there is also a microbial (Bacillus thuringiensis)insecticide that has been approved for use.

For more information: Oleander Caterpillar

Photo source: www.ufl.edu