Yellownecked Caterpillars – Identification

Q: These critters were on my blueberry bushes last year. They can strip a branch clean of leaves in half a day! Can you help?

A: Look just behind their black heads. See the yellow stripe around the “neck” of each caterpillar?

The yellow stripe gives this creature an eponymous name: yellownecked caterpillar, Dantana spp.

The easiest way to control them each year is to spray your bushes with an organic caterpillar insecticide that contains Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Such products are common at garden centers. I think I’d start spraying in late April and again in early May.

I’d then wait until I saw any that survived the first sprays before doing it again.

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