How to Get Rid of Caterpillars (Natural & Organic Methods) - Organic Daily Post

How to Get Rid of Caterpillars (Natural & Organic Methods)

By Sabrina Wilson / July 27, 2022

Caterpillars are often considered to be cute, fuzzy little creatures. But don't let their appearance fool you - caterpillars can do some serious damage. They are voracious eaters and have been known to strip entire trees of their leaves in just a few days. This can seriously weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to disease and pests. In some cases, the damage caused by caterpillars can even kill a tree. In addition to their destructive eating habits, caterpillars can also spread disease. So if you see one caterpillar, be sure to check for others - and take action to protect your trees and plants.

Organic methods for getting rid of caterpillars are preferable for a few reasons. Firstly, they are better for the environment as they don’t involve the use of harmful chemicals. Secondly, they are often more effective as caterpillars are less likely to develop a resistance to them. Finally, they are usually safer to use around children and pets.

Beneficial Nematodes

To use beneficial nematodes to get rid of caterpillars, you will need to purchase a nematode product from a garden center or online retailer. Follow the instructions on the package for mixing the nematodes with water. Then, using a garden hose, spray the mixture onto the caterpillar-infested area. The nematodes will enter the caterpillars and kill them. Reapply every 2-3 weeks as needed.

Neem Oil

If you have a caterpillar infestation, neem oil can be a very effective way to get rid of them. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is safe to use around children and pets. To use neem oil to get rid of caterpillars, mix together 1 tablespoon of neem oil and 1 teaspoon of dish soap in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water and shake it well. Then, simply spray the mixture onto the caterpillars and they will begin to die within a few hours. Be sure to spray the caterpillars directly and avoid spraying any plants or other areas where you don't want the neem oil to get on.

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a soap that is made specifically to kill insects. It usually contains ingredients that are poisonous to insects, such as insecticide. Insecticidal soap is used to kill insects on contact. It is not effective against eggs or larval stage insects. Insecticidal soap is safe for use around humans and animals.

To make your own insecticidal soap, mix 1 tablespoon of mild dish soap with 1 cup of water. Be sure to use a soap that is gentle, such as Dr. Bronner's Castile soap, as harsher soaps can damage plant leaves. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture to make it more effective.

To use, simply spray the mixture onto the caterpillars, being sure to coat them completely. The soap will kill the caterpillars by disrupting their cell membranes. You may need to reapply the soap every few days to keep the caterpillars at bay.

Horticultural Oil

Insecticidal soap is made up of a sodium salt of long chain fatty acids, typically around C12-C18. Fatty acids act as surfactants (surface active agents), which are molecules that can reduce the surface tension of water. This means that they can help water to penetrate the waxy coatings of insects and break down their cell membranes. Insecticidal soap is often used to control aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and other soft-bodied pests. It is considered to be safe for people and pets when used as directed, and can be an effective way to control pests in the garden.

To use horticultural oil to get rid of caterpillars, you will need to find a product that is specifically designed for this purpose. You may be able to find this at your local hardware or home improvement store, or you can order it online. Once you have the oil, you will need to mix it according to the instructions on the bottle. Then, using a spray bottle, you will need to liberally apply the oil to any areas where you have seen caterpillars or their damage. Be sure to cover the entire plant, as well as the ground around the plant, as caterpillars can also climb up from the ground. You will need to reapply the oil every few days, or as often as recommended on the bottle, until you no longer see any caterpillars or their damage.


1. What is a caterpillar?
A caterpillar is the larval stage of a butterfly or moth. They are often thought of as worms and are very segmented. Most caterpillars have six legs in the front and back, and they use these legs to move around and eat. Caterpillars go through a process called metamorphosis to turn into butterflies or moths.

2. How do caterpillars eat?
Caterpillars use their mouthparts, which are called mandibles, to eat. They bite off pieces of leaves and other plants and chew them up. Caterpillars can eat a lot—some of them can eat an entire plant in just a few days!

3. What do caterpillars turn into?
Caterpillars turn into butterflies or moths through a process called metamorphosis. During metamorphosis, the caterpillar’s body changes and it grows wings. Once the metamorphosis is complete, the butterfly or moth is ready to fly away.

4. Do all caterpillars turn into butterflies?
No, not all caterpillars turn into butterflies. Some caterpillars turn into moths. Moths and butterflies are both part of the order Lepidoptera, which means “scaly wing.”

5. What is the difference between a butterfly and a moth?
The main difference between butterflies and moths is that butterflies are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, while moths are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night. Butterflies also tend to be brightly colored, while moths are usually duller in color.

6. What do caterpillars need to grow?
Caterpillars need food, water, and shelter to grow. They eat leaves and other plants, and they drink water from puddles or raindrops. Caterpillars often build shelters out of leaves that they fold together.

7. How long does it take for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly or moth?
It usually takes a caterpillar about two weeks to turn into a butterfly or moth. However, this can vary depending on the species of caterpillar and the conditions where it is living.

8. What do caterpillars do in the winter?
Some caterpillars hibernate during the winter, which means they go into a deep sleep and don’t wake up until the spring. Other caterpillars stay active all winter long, and they may even build cocoons to protect themselves from the cold weather.

9. Are caterpillars harmful?
Some caterpillars can be harmful to plants, because they eat so much. However, most caterpillars are not harmful to people or animals. In fact, many caterpillars are important pollinators.

10. Can you eat caterpillars?
Yes, some caterpillars are edible. In many cultures, caterpillars are considered to be a delicacy. However, it is important to make sure that the caterpillar is not harmful before you eat it.

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About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is an author and homemaker who is passionate about a holistic approach to health. When she is not writing she can be found tooling around in her garden with the help of her appropriately named dog Digby, bicycling in the park, and occasionally rock climbing…badly. Sabrina is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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