What Is Bark Eating Caterpillar?
Bark eating Caterpillar is also known as Indarbela tetraonis. It is the type of caterpillar that lives and feeds on the plant stems and branches.
Life Stages of a Bark Eating Caterpillar:
- Egg - The moths lay eggs in clusters in the bark crevices. The eggs are light brown After 7 - 11 days the eggs hatch to form a small neonate.
- Larvae - After the eggs hatch, the larvae move out in search of food. They look out for concealed shoots and bore a tunnel into the wood. The tunnel acts as a shelter from sunlight. While after sunset, the larvae come out to feed on the outer bark. This lasts for about 27-298 days.
- Pupa - Pupa is the rest phase for larvae to grow into an adult. The rest phase is conducted in the tunnels made during its larval stage. It takes 20-25 days for the Pupa to turn into an adult.
- Adult - Adult is a stout yellowish-brown moth with wavy brown markings on the forewings. Males are smaller than the females and have a shorter lifespan. This phase can vary from 4-7 days.
How Does Bark Eating Caterpillar Damage the Plant?
Bark Eating Caterpillar damages the plant in the larval stage itself. During this stage, it bores holes in search of food in the stem and branches causing the tissue to rupture and block the food and water in the plant, which may cause it to diet. Read about how to save vegetables from caterpillar.
Bark Eating Caterpillar Symptoms:
- Visible irregular tunnels coated with thick, ribbon-like, silken webs filled with excreta and chewed wood particles on the shoots, branches, stem and trunk.
- Shoots and branches show shelter holes.
- Damage young shoots and feeble looking plants.
- Young trees may die due to the attack.
- Caterpillars on the trunk and tree branches.
How to Manage or Control Bark Eating Caterpillar?
- Avoid growing plant varieties susceptible to bark eating caterpillars.
- Collect and burn the affected branches.
- Kill the caterpillars by inserting an iron spike into the shelter holes.
- Clean the affected portion with a swab of cotton soaked in petrol or kerosene.
- During September-October inject 5 ml dichlorvos in the borehole using a syringe and plug the hole with mud. Place Carbofuran 3G granules at 5 gm per borehole and then seal it with mud.
- Pad with monocrotophos at 10ml / tree or swab the trunk with carbaryl 50 WP at 20 gm/lit.
- Use a light trap to attract adult moths.
- Maintaining cleanliness.
- Control when eggs are hatching and caterpillars are small would prove beneficial for the plant.
Bark Eating Caterpillar Species:
- Indarbela tetraonis
- Indarbela quadrinotata
How to Deal With Heavy Infestation of Bark Eating Caterpillar:
- When heavily infested there might be 15-30 larvae affecting the tree.
- Old trees are susceptible to the attack than the younger ones. Buy tree seeds online.
- Bark Eating Caterpillar emerge in summer and are short-lived. There is only one generation in a year.
- To control the heavy infestation, opt for chemical fertilizers.