Geographic location of the bug: Jensen Beach, FL 34957
Time: 09:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: These suddenly appeared on my ornamental trees. Are they harmful?
How you want your letter signed: Kathraine
We verified the identity of your Caterpillar as Empyreuma pugione on BugGuide, and the adult is the Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, and since we do not want to call this the caterpillar of the Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, we are going to call it the Spotted Oleander Caterpillar. We will let you decide if they are harmful.
Thank you so much! I am just hoping that the birds have a good lunch and leave it at that.
I just did some more reading. They’re poisonous to birds due to eating the oleander. I might try to pick some of them off, but my trees should live alright in spite of the caterpillars’ appetite.
Hi again Kathraine,
The caterpillars feed on the leaves and if the oleander is otherwise healthy, it will regrow leaves. Caterpillars do not generally kill the plants upon which they feed.