How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development
and life cycle—Saltmarsh caterpillar

Saltmarsh caterpillars overwinter as fully grown larvae. Pupation occurs in early spring. Adults emerge in 10 days to 3 weeks and then mate and lay eggs, nearly always on lower leaf surfaces. In warm spring weather, egg hatch occurs in a week to 10 days. Eggs are pearly white to creamy yellow. Young larvae are light buff with clusters of long, dark hairs over the body. As they increase in size, they become more hairy. Mature larvae pupate in 4 to 5 weeks, usually under leaf trash in the soil. Adults emerge in 10 days to 2 weeks, depending on weather. A generation may be completed in about 6 weeks during warm summer weather. There are three to four generations a year, the fall generation being the most numerous and most destructive.

Second and fifth instar caterpillars
Second and fifth instar caterpillars

Adult
Adult

Eggs
Eggs


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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