Hi my name is Sandy, ... #248094 - Ask Extension


Hi my name is Sandy, ... #248094

Asked May 29, 2015, 11:33 AM EDT

Hi my name is Sandy, I have little green worms eating my ferns. How do I get rid of them with out killing butterflies? Thanks

Washington County Minnesota

Expert Response

Do you know what kind of ferns you have? Are they indoor or outdoor plants? Are you able to take a picture of the worms or check out some common larvae in Minnesota at the website below? http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/diagnose/insect/garden/ Have you had the ferns for a while or are they new to you? Are you noticing damage from the worms you are seeing? While we work on trying to identify which insect this is, there is no reason you couldn't begin to pull the worms off by hand if you haven't already begun to do so. You can simply drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Sawflies are common this time of year, but I'm not aware of them causing extensive fern damage to most types of ferns in Minnesota. There is some information about this occurring on bracken or sensitive fern. Sawfly larvae have 3 pairs of true legs and 7- 8 pairs of fleshy false legs. Caterpillars have 5 or fewer pairs of false legs covered in tiny hooks. Additional info or a photo may help us figure out more about the problem you are having.
Rebecca Passi Replied June 02, 2015, 3:51 AM EDT

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