This is our complete guide on how to get rid of caterpillars. We know that caterpillars can cause havoc in gardens. Just a small infestation can quickly demolish complete plants, plants that you may have spent months cultivating.

This is our ultimate guide on how to deal with them. Below, you can see a breakdown of this article and the sections you can find in this guide:

So first, we’ll take a look at how to identify caterpillars, in both egg and insect form before delving into how to get rid of (and how not to get rid of) caterpillars:

How to Identify Caterpillars

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What Do Caterpillar Eggs Look Like?

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What Do Baby Caterpillars Look Like?

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How to Get Rid of Caterpillars

If you know you’ve got a caterpillar infestation and want a few ways to get rid of them then try the following options out:

Pick Them Off Your Plants

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Encourage Predators

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Spray With Soapy Water

There is a common misconception that soapy water will kill caterpillars. This is not the case. What it will do, however, is wash them off your plants and onto the ground.

All you need to do is mix a few drops of washing up liquid with some water and then spray large clusters of caterpillars that you can often find on brassica leaves. They’ll drop from the plant and they will often move onto another plant.

This is far from a long-term solution for dealing with caterpillars but it is a way to immediately halt any progress they are making at destroying an entire plant.

Buy Parasitic Wasps

Thinking about wasps might make you panic, after all, they are known to sting quite badly. The good news is that parasitic wasps won’t sting you.

Parasitic wasps will actually lay their eggs in or on caterpillars. When the baby wasps hatch, they’ll eat the caterpillar that they were born on. Pretty gross! But it’s an effective way to get rid of caterpillar infestations.

How NOT to Get Rid of Caterpillars

Unfortunately, there are some methods for getting rid of caterpillars that ought to be avoided as they can be harmful to the environment and other wildlife. You should avoid the following:


It’s bad enough that insecticides are still used widely commercially. But, at the end of the day, they have profits and yields to consider. In your garden, this is unlikely to be the case so there is no reason to use toxic insecticides that could impact other wildlife.

We all know how important bees, hoverflies and other pollinators are to our gardens. By using insecticides, you risk not only killing the caterpillars you’re trying to target but swathes of beneficial bugs from ladybirds and lacewings to bees and moths.

Stop Using Insecticides
If a few leaves get chomped by caterpillars or the odd plants die because of an infestation then your garden will be fine. There’s simply no reason to use insecticides. To learn more about Insecticides, visit Pan UK.


To most people, the thought of using bleach in the garden sounds mad. Of course, a chemical like bleach is likely to kill caterpillars but it will probably lead to the deaths of many other beneficial bugs as well as larger mammals.

Should You Get Rid of Caterpillars?

Caterpillars are annoying! There’s no denying that. But does this mean you should interfere with nature? Or should you leave them be?

Are Caterpillars Beneficial?

Caterpillars might not be beneficial to you as a gardener but they are part of the food chain for a range of animals including birds and frogs. They also turn into butterflies and moths who are great pollinators.


Caterpillars can cause havoc in gardens. Once those eggs hatch, caterpillars have one job and that is to eat as much as possible so that they can turn into butterflies and moths. You can get rid of caterpillar infestations by picking them off your plants or by encouraging predators to your garden.

If you have any success (or failures) when it comes to getting rid of caterpillars in your garden then let us know in the comments section below:

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