Red-Headed Azalea Caterpillar
DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST
red-headed azalea caterpillar (Datana major) is the larva (immature
form) of a moth. At about 3/8 inch long, the caterpillar is reddish- to
brownish-black with white and yellow stripes. When mature, the caterpillar
reaches 2 inches in length and is almost black with a red head and legs and
with white broken longitudinal lines running along the body.
Red-headed azalea caterpillars feed in groups and may defoliate
much of an azalea before they are detected. When disturbed, they raise their
heads and tails. Most of the damage is done in late summer.
The caterpillars can be removed
by hand as they are harmless to humans. For chemical control, treat when
caterpillars are first noticed. Recommended insecticides that are available in
homeowner size packaging include B.t.,
spinosad, bifenthrin, lambda cyhalothrin, permethrin, acephate, carbaryl and