Sunday, January 24, 2010

EEEWWWWW.....Now that's Gross!

Orange dogs.....No this is not some idea dreamed up in California to dye your pooch. Orange dog caterpillars (Papilio cresphontes) to be exact.
Orange dog caterpillars feed on citrus. They are mottled dark grey to light brown.
This is the one that looks like bird poop. When mature the caterpillar is about 1 1/2 inchs long. That little tongue like, forked thing, sticking out emits a really foul odor, I guess to something that is going to eat it, it may smell like bird poop.
On a large tree, a couple of these little guys may not give you much of a problem. On a small tree, that could be a whole different story. A few of these can defoliate an entire tree in just a day or two.
Every year I find some of these on my Citrus trees. Control is either by picking the little critters off, trying not to be touched by that tongue, or by finding the eggs and crushing them. The eggs are very tiny orange balls, about the size of a pin head.
I have even been known to chase the egg laying form around my yard with a net, watching where she lands and crushing the egg right away. There are many folks you like having the Orange dogs around because of what they turn into.
Meet, the adult form:

If you ever want some of these, just let me know...If I find them on my can HAVE THEM!!
Happy Growing!


  1. We have a small tree that has these caterpillars. Is there any insecticide that will kill them

    1. Or maybe a better question is "can we spray the tree with anything to keep them?"

    2. Brenda, Yes, you can spray bacillus thuringiensis. It can be found in any good garden center or online. Just follow the directions and it works great.

  2. awww those are swallowtail butterflies actually and they're beautiful!