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Azalea Plants

Q.Azalea Worms

Anonymous added on May 15, 2011 | Answered

Each year, very small, green worms eat all parts of my azaleas when they are in bloom. I have used neem oil but once they are here, it is a little too late as they are voracious! Neem is the strongest chemical I would use in my garden and I worry even it is toxic to the bees.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 16, 2011

Azalea caterpillar control in the larvae stage relatively easy. However, because the caterpillars feed in groups, they often completely defoliate a portion of a plant before they are discovered. Once the caterpillars are in the adult stage, they can be hand picked and destroyed easily. This is the ideal situation if you have a limited number of azaleas. Most azalea caterpillars can be shaken from the shrub and dumped into soapy water to kill.

Neem-oil is an organic control that must be applied frequently. A second option is to apply Bacillus thuringiensis or BT. BT is a bacterial pathogen widely used as a biological control of pest larvae. It is safe to humans, other animals, and plants when applied according to label instructions.

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