Subject: Unidentifiable CaterpillarS
Geographic location of the bug: Roseville, CA
Time: 06:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Can you tell me what this is? They denuded my redbud tree. How can I prevent them from returning. Organic pesticides had no effect whatsoever. Thank you.
How you want your letter signed: Sharon
This is a Red-Humped Caterpillar, Schizura concinna, which you can find pictured on BugGuide. According to the University of California Integrated Pest Management site: “Young caterpillars commonly feed side-by-side in groups, chewing on the lower leaf surface. As the larvae grow, they tend to disperse and feed in smaller groups or individually. Skeletonized leaves are a common result, as the older caterpillars chew all the way through and consume leaves, leaving only the larger, tough veins. … When their abundance is low, larvae eat leaves on only a few branch terminals. Occasionally, heavy infestations develop and defoliate entire trees during the summer. Usually only scattered individual and young trees are severely defoliated. If severely defoliated, trees that are otherwise healthy usually recover.”
Thank you for the quick response and valuable information about the Red-Humped Caterpillars. They are scary-looking. I hope my redbud tree will recover. Thanks again!