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For The Garden

Gardening advice on what’s decimating yellow bell shrubs

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: December, 2012, Page 106
Yellow bells


Q - What is devouring my yellow bells?

A - The Master Gardener hotline has been flooded this fall with callers observing caterpillars defoliating Tecoma
shrubs, such as yellow bells and orange jubilee, according to Kelly Murray Young, assistant agent, horticulture, University of
Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative
Extension (MCCE). Carl Olson, with the university’s Department of Entomology, identified the caterpillar as Antigrastra catalaunalis, commonly called Tecoma leaf-
tier. Its origin is in the tropics and subtropics of Africa and Asia. “Since this non-native is a new problem in our area, we haven’t had a lot of experience controlling it,” Young comments. “We don’t know how persistent it will be. The winter cold may knock it back, and we won’t see it again. We’re encouraging people to take a wait-and-see approach. The caterpillar’s habit of covering itself in leaf material means contact insecticides will probably not be effective.”
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