Stop Walnut Caterpillars From Eating Texas Pecan Trees
Joey Baker

Joey Baker

Joey has over 30+ experience wrangling pests and keeping your home safe.

The Walnut Caterpillar: A Threat to Texas Pecan Trees


Pecan trees are an important part of Texas agriculture. But these trees face a big threat every July from a pest called the Walnut caterpillar. This article will explain how to identify the Walnut caterpillars, why they attack pecan trees, and how to control them.

Understanding the Walnut Caterpillar

The Walnut caterpillar is the larval stage of the Walnut Moth. The caterpillars are can grow up to 2 inches long, and depending on the 1 of 5 instars/molts. Below is a photo from last year, however to see all of the various instars visit the NC State Extension page to see the various way these nasty little critters can look.

Walnut caterpillars are found in many parts of Texas and they like to live in areas with Black Walnut, English Walnut, Japanese Walnut, Persian Walnut, Butternut, Hickory and Pecan trees, which provide the food they need to grow.

Why Walnut Caterpillars Attack Pecan Trees

Walnut caterpillars eat the leaves of pecan and the other trees mentioned above because the leaves are tasty to them, pretty simple.

These caterpillars are most active during certain times during the mid-summer months of June and July. Signs of an infestation are pretty obvious. They will clump up all over a tree, if you have seen a pecan tree attacked by these pests you will never forget it.

Impact on Pecan Trees

Walnut caterpillars cause a lot of damage to pecan trees. They eat the leaves, which can weaken the tree and make it produce fewer nuts, and in severe cases, the tree might lose all its leaves, completely losing the crop.

For pecan growers, these pests can be a big problem. Less healthy trees mean fewer pecans to sell, which can hurt their income. Pecan farmers are aware of this issue and take steps to protect their trees.

However, as a non-farming homeowner, these pests may be relatively new to you. But, with a little bit of knowledge and some help from a local pest control company like Critter Gitters, you can protect your trees with confidence.

Controlling Walnut Caterpillar Infestations

Monitoring and Early Detection

To control these pests, it's important to catch them early. Regularly check your trees for signs of caterpillars or their damage.

Pesticide Control Methods

Insecticides can also be used to kill Walnut caterpillars. If you go this route you are going to want to make sure that you use products that are specifically labeled for edible plants. You want to make sure that you do not contaminate your nuts. There are many pesticides that will control these caterpillars, however, many of them will leave your fruit unsuitable for consumption.

Make sure to read the label and follow safety instructions when using pesticide products to protect yourself and the environment.

Call in The Professional

A professional pest control company like Critter Gitters can ensure that the caterpillars are taken care of quickly, all while protecting the pecans. If you need help, give us a call!

Walnut caterpillars are a serious threat to pecan trees in Texas. By monitoring your trees and using different control methods, you can protect your pecan harvest. Stay proactive and keep your trees healthy!

Additional Resources

For more information, check out local extension services and research publications. You can also contact local pest control experts for help.

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