Cliff Sadof, Extension Entomologist
Catalpa sphinx (aka catalpa worms) have two generations each year (south of Indianapolis) and one generation a year (north of Indianapolis). The can completely strip catalpa trees and grow to three inches! This photo shows late stage caterpillars. The dorsum is velvet black upon molting. As they feed and expand, they lighten in color. Infestations rarely last more than two years in a row thanks to a parasitoid that attacks caterpillars. Parasitized individuals will be covered with white coccoons. Just think of these insects as the tomato hornworms of the catalpa trees and you will have the idea. Renown as great fish bait, they ought to be ripe for the picking right now. Bait shops may even buy them at a premium....
Refer to Caterpillar Control in the 31 July 2000 Educator Update.
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