November 10, 2020 at 1:49 pm Replylilac41059Private messageGreenhorn
Hi. I just joined this group in hopes of finding out what a particular pest is that I found on our calamondin fruit tree and how to get rid of it (them). It is eating the upper leaves on the tree. It is, at least to me, a freaky creature. Pictures are attached. Any ideas?November 11, 2020 at 3:01 pm ReplyNate from N&GPrivate messageExpert gardener (moderator)
Hi, it sure looks like the caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail!
It loves eating citrus, but it also looks nice and it’s a butterfly that’s often seen in the lower 48. It’s not an endangered species so if it’s really devastating your calamondin, you can pick it off. Use gloves since it defends itself with a stinky smell.November 12, 2020 at 9:00 am ReplybetsylilyPrivate messageGreenhorn
Goodness me the caterpillar is so ugly but the butterfly so beautiful!November 13, 2020 at 1:09 pm ReplyCarolPrivate messageGreen Thumb (moderator)
November 18, 2020 at 1:08 pm ReplyjoujouPrivate messageGreenhorn
I saw this on my lemon tree. Do you think it’s the same caterpillar?
JoujouNovember 30, 2020 at 9:46 am ReplyjoujouPrivate messageGreenhorn
I revisited my young lemon tree and this was what I found out.
I had removed the caterpillar and had transferred it on a mature tree nearby. I guess it came back! Anything else I could do to protect this citrus plant considering I don’t want to kill this poor insect?
JoujouNovember 30, 2020 at 10:06 am ReplyNate from N&GPrivate messageExpert gardener (moderator)
That is one HUNGRY critter! There are a few things you can try out here on our page on controlling caterpillars. Given the size, and that there’s only one tree to care for, I’d go for a protective net. Form a cylinder around the lemon tree and tie both ends like a candy wrapper, the trunk sticking out from below on one side. Not too tight on the trunk, so as not to strangle it, but not too loose or the caterpillar might sneak through. Very fine mesh, like mosquito nets. When the tree gets bigger, a couple caterpillars won’t hurt it, but at this stage it’s worth protecting! As for the caterpillar, I think its the “lime swallowtail”, which definitely makes sense on your citrus sapling… http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/lime_swallowtail.htm
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