Can someone please tell me what these little insects are & how to get rid of them? Also, I have handpicked several tiny caterpillars that were feasting on the leaves. I continue to inspect the plants daily. Thanks!

q insects
q insects
q insects
  16 answers
  • Dee Dee on Sep 26, 2020

    It is a Fireweed Hawk Moth/ Hornworm

    Adults are large, grey, with a red band on the hindwing. They can have a wingspan up to 6 cm. Commonly called hawk moths or sphinx moths they are often confused with hummingbirds due to their large size and flight patterns. They are important pollinators and can be found feeding on nectar between May and August. Larvae are called hornworms due to the characteristic "horn" on the eighth abdominal segment. Larvae are quite large, reaching as long as 8 cm and can be green or black in color with pale spots on the body. They overwinter as pupae in the leaf litter.

    In boreal or montane North America they are referred to as bedstraw hawk moth as that is their main host there.

  • Annie Annie on Sep 26, 2020

    Hi Therese, handpicking these guys works well as long as you don't have an infestation. Looking your plants over daily and squishing any you find would be good.

  • Teresa C Teresa C on Sep 27, 2020

    Thanks. What about the little tiny insects crawling on the leaves? Any idea what they are & how to get rid of them?

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 27, 2020

    Here is a link that might help you. As an aside the Bt is good, but you have to get the caterpillars to eat it, otherwise it is of no use. The larvae on the bottom of the leaf is the next generation of caterpillars that are eating away. They will also eat more as they mature. You might pick a caterpillar and take it in a baggie to your local nursery and ask what they have to kill it along with the larvae.,Garlic%20Mixture.%205%205.%20Chili%20Spray.%20More%20items

  • Rymea Rymea on Sep 27, 2020

    Please just leave them alone. They are an important food source for birds. The damage they do will probably be minimal and they will emerge from their cocoons as pollinators.

    I wish everyone would read this book. Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas W. Tallamy

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Sep 27, 2020

    Hello....for the best local professional advice

    I would highly suggest contacting your cooperative extension. These offices are manned by volunteer master gardeners on site there waiting to answer the communities questions that know your local situation quite well.

    Master gardeners are required to volunteer back designated hours ( plus continuing education) each year to maintain MG certification -this community outreach and education is their goal.

    If your office is closed....there Might be alternative online venues like Ask an Expert as well as emailing your local master gardeners extension office for their guidance.... in a non contact manner.

    Sometimes when I find insects on my outdoor plants are use the garden hose to spray them away -doing that several days in a row it can be quite effective. Can you tell me more about the leaves that the flying insects are on - could helpful to identify them correctly.....l meanwhile here’s a link.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Sep 27, 2020

    Spray with Neem Oil to get rid of the caterpillars if you must but they will not kill the plants. They are important for the food cycle! Available online, Home Depot, nurseries, etc. Don't spray in direct sunlight or you will burn your plant.

    Alypia octomaculata, the eight-spotted forester, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in the Eastern part of the United States, Texas and Florida. It is also present in parts of Canada and Mexico. The moth is black, with 2 whitish or yellowish spots in each wing. The wingspan is 30–37 mm.


  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Sep 28, 2020

    There are sprays at your local nursery shop

  • Bill R. Bill R. on Sep 29, 2020

    Nematodes for caterpillars will come in a spray or bag of powder form, whichever you prefer (order on amazon) or you can buy concentrate to mix and spray, also neem oil on your non-edibles to keep the moths that lay the eggs that the caterpillars turn into from getting to any of you other plants, all types of caterpillars are very destructive and like beetles will transmit killing viruses to your plants. Look up Dr, Bader's bug solutions is also a good book for gardeners.

  • I would visit your local nursery with one of the caterpillars. Different plants will tolerate different solutions. I would also suspect that depending on your climate, the weather change may take care of them without intervention.

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir Jeremy Hoffpauir on Sep 30, 2020

    I've used these nematodes before with success.

    Hope this Helps! Jeremy -

  • I have pet ducks and they love to eat little grubs like this

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Oct 01, 2020

    It looks like the dreaded Gypsy Moth. We had lots of them in Connecticut, but fortunately we moved to the west coast.

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Oct 02, 2020

    Looks like a Gypsy Moth to me.

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 02, 2020

    Hi Teresa: It looks like a black swallowtail caterpillar. Leave them alone and they will hatch into beautiful butterflies. Even though you might want to try to bring the cocoon inside, it's not a good idea. They need the cold and wetness of the winter to stay alive. If not that type of caterpillar, check this site and see if you can find yours:

    What ever you do, don't kill the poor things. Everything is trying to make a living and it's not up to us to take a life. Of course, if it's a mosquito or roach, then it's all out war:) If you don't want them in your yard, collect them, put them in a box with wet grass and leaves and move them to a forest or field. Good luck and be kind to our little friends.

  • Catherine Johnston Catherine Johnston on Oct 03, 2020

    I thought it was a gypsy moth....