"caterpillars" on berry leaves #751904 - Ask Extension

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"caterpillars" on berry leaves #751904

Asked May 24, 2021, 6:43 PM EDT

I have little (about 1/2" long and shorter) worms or caterpillars eating my raspberry and boysenberry leaves. They appear to be milky or maybe translucent. From one angle they appear to be white, but I see in an enlarged photo (attached) they look green - the color of the leaves So far it's not a major infestation and we're just removing the affected leaves as we find them. Can you tell me what they are and is there a better way to eliminate them? Also, our plum tree seems to have attracted all of the aphids in our yard. We tried the 3-in-1 safe soap solution, but the curled up leaves protected the aphids. So, we removed all of the affected leaves (it's a young tree). So far it looks like we have temporarily solved the problem, but we would like to know how to avoid the issue in the future. In our previous home, in Scappoose, we had a plum tree that the aphids liked. Fortunately they didn't find it until it was a mature tree. It made a mess with the drippings every year, but it didn't appear to seriously affect the tree or the fruit production. However, with this newly planted tree I'm concerned that a serious infestation could damage the tree. Thanks, Ken

Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

Your current remedy for the small chewers will work well. Consider, though, the value of donning gloves and squishing.

Plums are common victims of aphids every spring. And yes, you're correct about leaf removal potentially setting back a young tree.

Consider, instead, maintaining a hyper-alert watchfulness every spring then, at the very first sight of aphid damage, to blast them off with a harsh water spray from a hose. An alternative for young (small) trees is direct hits of commercial insecticidal soap, prepared according to label directions.
Jean R. Natter Replied May 25, 2021, 8:12 PM EDT

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