Pest Guides

Caterpillars

Lepidoptera

Appearance

Caterpillars  | Rentokil Pest Control Zambia
  • Their size varies from 1 mm to about 8 cm.
  • Usually caterpillars have tubular, segmented bodies.
  • Often cryptically coloured to resemble the plants on which they feed.
  • Many have developed urticating hairs - bristles connected to venom glands; the effect on humans ranges from mild irritation to dermatitis.

Lifecycle

  • Caterpillars eat their way through the shell (sometimes they eat the whole shell to provide energy).
  • Then they start to feed voraciously and grow through a series of moults (usually 4-6); each stage is called an instar.
  • Finally, they usually construct a protective cocoon to pupate in.
  • Some caterpillars spin leaves to form a cocoon or create 'chambers' from bark and wood.

Habits

  • Very voracious.
  • Most caterpillars are herbivorous, a few feed on detritus. Predatory ones consume eggs of other insects, aphids, scale insects, or ant larvae.
  • They are mostly nocturnal.