Issue 12, July 16, 2012

Genista Caterpillar

Genista caterpillar, Uresiphita reversalis, is common this year on wild indigo, Baptisia. The caterpillars web the leaves together with silk, eat holes in the leaves, and eat leaf margins to the midvein. There are two generations per year. This is probably the second generation as we had some reports in early June.

Genista caterpillars are colorful, being green to brown with white spots and short, black tubercles sprouting white hairs. They are slender and are about one inch long when fully grown. They feed not only on wild indigo, but also on crepe myrtle, honeysuckle, Texas laurel, golden chain, and yew. They pupate in thin, white cocoons on the plant foliage and nearby buildings.

Genista caterpillar larvae and damage on wild indigo.

They can be controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t., Dipel, Thuricide, others), spinosad (Conserve), and other labeled insecticides. Be sure to spray thoroughly to get penetration onto the curled, webbed leaves. (Phil Nixon)

Phil Nixon

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