Before caterpillars reach the pupa stage, they need to eat as much as they can. This is why they’ll eat their way through your plants, vegetable crops and fruit bushes. So, do caterpillars eat strawberries as part of this huge diet?
Yes, caterpillars do love to eat strawberries and strawberry plants. Though they like the berries more than the leaves as the leaves aren’t tasty to them.
Strawberries and strawberry plants are important food sources for caterpillars. Unlike apple trees, where caterpillars only eat the leaves and not the apples, strawberries are more favoured over strawberry plant leaves.
The leaves are often ignored as the leaves of strawberry plants are distasteful to caterpillars.
Caterpillars need to eat a lot of food to help them during their time in a cocoon. They eat strawberries and all other fruits, vegetables, other types of berries and whatever they can find.
If the place they’re eating berries or any other fruit from has been finished off all the food, caterpillars may resort to other options like cannibalism or eating animal waste. They’ll do whatever is needed to get food into their bodies.
Which Caterpillars Eat Strawberries?
Many varying species of caterpillars like to eat strawberry plants and other fruit and veggie types. But there are two, in particular, that are infamous for demolishing strawberry plants in your garden:
A caterpillar called the corn earworm eats a lot of plants, including strawberry plants and corn plants, hence the name. A corn earworm is also called a bollworm or fruit worm, as its diet includes various fruits.
It may sound like a corn earworm may only eat corn, but this caterpillar’s diet is very diverse as it eats leaves and many different kinds of veggies and fruits. If you have a garden and your fruits seem to have tiny visible holes, then it’s most likely that you might have a corn earworm infestation.
A fully grown corn earworm may be olive-brown, greyish brown, tan, maroon, black or pink, usually with three or four blackish stripes on its back.
Their heads are not spotted and will have a yellowish tone. A mature corn earworm can measure up to 2 inches. Corn earworms can spoil strawberries because they eat them by burrowing through them, making the rest of the strawberries bad.
There are several generations of these caterpillars, but the caterpillars from the overwintering generation mainly eat the strawberries, especially in spring.
Entry points made by the instar larvae aren’t visible, so it’s hard to spot if you’re eating a spoiled strawberry. To avoid eating a strawberry that a corn earworm caterpillar has already eaten, always make sure to cut it first before eating.
Another species of caterpillars that like to eat strawberries is a type of webworm called garden webworms. It’s a common type of green and slender webworm with three black spots in a triangle type pattern on each segment of the caterpillar on the side.
This type of caterpillar eats strawberries in the same manner as the corn earworm by burrowing through them.
What Other Berries Do Caterpillars Eat?
Most types of caterpillars don’t only like to eat the leaves of certain plants, but they favour the fruits and berries more as they find them tastier than the leaves.
Yellow-necked caterpillars, red humped caterpillars, eastern tent caterpillars and a few other types love to eat not only strawberries but also blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and several other berries and fruits.
Besides strawberries, blueberries are another favourite meal for caterpillars. Caterpillars like to eat blueberries so much to the point that if you have a blueberry plant in your garden, there’s an increased chance that there could be a caterpillar infestation.
Blueberries are one of the very common fruits to be infested with caterpillars.
Unfortunately, the only way to prevent an infestation is to prevent butterflies from laying their eggs on the plant in the first place. You can do this by wrapping blueberry (and other fruit) bushes in a fine mesh that will allow light and water in but is too fine for butterflies to get through.
Caterpillars can make your favourite plants and fruits vanish in little time. They’re vigorous eaters, and there are a couple of species that even eat in groups, making the eating process even quicker.
Caterpillars love to eat strawberries and other fruits and berries. Sometimes they like the leaves of the plant more, but when it comes to strawberries, the berries are more appealing to the slithering creatures than the leaves of the plant.
Caterpillars can eat all other berries and fruits as well, but when the supply of food is very scarce, they may resort to other options such as cannibalism, scavenging and eating other insects.
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Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden