I’ve known for some time that a pest preys upon my junipers, but I had yet to see the creatures until yesterday. I poked around a bit and found the following.
I’d seen caterpillars in junipers before – nasty creatures that look like scale foliage and can eat through a tree’s new growth in a single day. These are lazier. They seem to tuck away amongst the foliage and hang out. The signs are subtle – sometimes just a few needles turn brown.
Caterpillar damage on a Western juniper
It didn’t take much to coax the creatures out of their hideouts.
Creeping out into the light
They were particularly insidious in Sierra juniper, fitting perfectly inside single needles.
Caterpillar caught hiding in Sierra juniper foliage
I don’t what kinds of caterpillars these are or the best way to eradicate them. I welcome any suggestions! I checked the trees’ foliage carefully and removed every one I found manually. I then sprayed the trees with a mild pesticide. I’ve found that the best way to manage pests in my yard is to get to the bugs early in the season. I’m a bit late this year – once pests take hold in Spring it can be tough to completely get rid of them. I’ll be checking my trees extra carefully for the next month or so.
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