Caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths that feed on plants.

Life Cycle

Caterpillars develop through four life stages: egg, larva (so-called caterpillar), pupa, and adult (butterfly or moth). Depending on the species and environmental conditions, it takes one to three weeks for caterpillars to complete a life cycle.


Most caterpillar species can cause serious economic damage to plants. They feed on leaves, shoots, flowers, fruits, and sometimes other parts of the plant, and their enormous feeding capacity can rapidly destroy a plant.


Common asparagus beetle is an important pest of Asparagus crops, and it is its only food plant. It frequently occurs earlier in the season wherever asparagus is grown. The adults feed on the asparagus spears and cause browning and scarring. Once the ferns appear after the harvest of asparagus, the larvae and adults can also chew the ferns. Beetles feeding on the ferns weaken the plant and reduce the plant’s ability to provide sufficient nutrients for the following season. Fewer ferns also make asparagus a target for Fusarium, a fungal disease. Moreover, the presence of common asparagus beetle eggs on the spears can make the asparagus unappealing.



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