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For The Garden

Gardening advice on green caterpillars on palm trees

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: November, 2013, Page 137



ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - I found 1-inch-long, segmented green caterpillars with black heads in the fronds of our palm trees. I also found one in my carpet. What are these and how do I get rid of them?

A - What you are seeing is the larvae of the palm flower moth, says Linda Drew, University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. The caterpillars vary in color from pink or pinkish-brown to dark cream with a greenish tinge. They feed on the blossoms of fan palms, where they do little damage. When they reach maturity they crawl into the bark of the palm tree to pupate. At this time, if they are knocked out of the palm tree by wind or pruning, they may look for a place to pupate within your home, chewing carpets to create a pupal chamber. Keep them out by sealing cracks or covering vents.
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