Roses are red, violets are blue, and caterpillars are pests, so what do you do? Roses are probably the most universally loved flowers known to man. Anniversaries, birthdays, and of course Valentine’s Day all usually consist of this beautiful flower being sent to significant others. Ladies, however, are not the only ones who love roses. Caterpillars can wreak havoc on rose bushes, eating away at the leaves bite after bite. One rose-eating culprit that recently got brought to my office to identify is known as Schizura unicornis, aka the Unicorn Caterpillar. This caterpillar also goes by the name of morning glory prominent moth caterpillar. This species of caterpillar is easily recognizable by the way they raise their tail up in the air during times of disturbance. It is thought that they perform this act to attract birds to strike the tail rather than the head, thereby giving the insect the chance to escape an attack.
So, what do you do if you have these critters moving in to your rose garden? Dr. Michael Hall, Associate Professor of Entomology with the LSU AgCenter suggests that homeowners use Liquid Sevin to control the pest. As with any type of chemical control, always read and follow the labeled directions making sure to take all necessary precautions and use the correct dosages. Also, depending on the level of infestation, these caterpillars can also be handpicked off of the plant and destroyed. For more information on this topic and more, remember to please utilize your local extension office. We are located at 2015 Red Oak Road in Coushatta, 318-932-4342.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture