The CHA recommends identifying caterpillars by following the IPM management tools presented by the University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources. Caterpillars fall under the classification of "Lepidopterous Pests". There are a number of different species and each variety can affect different crops. Armyworms are typically the primary feeder on cannabis flowers. "In many cases, feeding is superficial and little loss would result if not for decay organisms that enter wounds and rot fruit." (E.T. Natwick et al., 2016) This fruit rot is known as bud rot, also known as botrytis.
Beet armyworm: Spodoptera exigua
Cabbage looper: Trichoplusia ni
Corn earworm: Helicoverpa zea
Black cutworm: Agrotis ipsilon
Variegated cutworm: Peridroma saucia
Granulate cutworm: Agrotis subterranean
Western yellowstriped armyworm: Spodoptera praefica
Eggs hatch in 1 to 2 weeks. Newly hatched larvae are pale green and move in a looping motion. Larvae are also active at night, feeding on host plants. During the day, they can be found under plant debris or in the top few inches of the soil. After completing six instars, larvae pupate just below the soil surface. Adults emerge in 1 to 2 weeks. A second generation occurs in late June or early July and a third in late August or early September. Crop Science Extension & Outreach College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Recommended controls for Caterpillars
Each control will have its own set of parameters that will be best suited for individual environments. Certain controls may only be available for commercial application.
Commercial farmers are required to reference their own state laws to ascertain if the recommended controls fall within compliance of their states regulatory guidelines.
MECHANICAL AND PHYSICAL CONTROLS
Carefully groom each plant and hand pick the caterpillars off.