The foliage of a bush daisy provides ideal hideouts for caterpillars.

What Caterpillars Are Attracted to Bush Daisy?

by Paul Schuster

With its showy yellow blossoms, the bush daisy (Gamolepis chrysanthemoides), also known as the African yellow daisy, will grow up to 2 feet if given the proper conditions. A hardy plant, the bush daisy is able to tolerate high temperatures and does best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8B through 11. The large flowers and bushy foliage of this plant provide caterpillars refuge from rain and wind. Because caterpillars seek out bush daises, the plants are susceptible to infestation, which can do serious damage over time.

1. Leafrollers

Only 1/2 inch long, leafrollers can change color depending on their diet, which makes them difficult to spot unless you pay very close attention. Because of the color of the bush daisy, leafrollers on these plants will range in color from green to yellow or display a variation of the two. Leafrollers feed on the tender leaves of the plant, often leaving behind nothing more than the center vein of a leaf. During the early larvae stages, they roll up leaves, making little tents for themselves.

2. Cabbage Loopers

The cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni Hubner) grows up to 2 inches in length and has a white striped on the top and sides of its light green, blue tinged body. Left to their own devices, cabbage loopers will feed on the leaves of the daisy plant, leaving large, round holes that are hard to miss. Avoid planting bush daisy plants near members of the cabbage family because cabbage loopers enjoy feeding on those plants as well, raising the likelihood of an infestation.

3. Earworms

With their wide range of colors, including black, pale green, brown, yellow or pink, earworms are still easy to spot because they have dark bumps on their bodies, which stand out against the coloring of the bush daisy. Reaching upwards of 1 inch in length, earworms will eat both the stems and leaves of the bush daisy plant.

4. Woolly Bears

The woolly bear caterpillar is the larva of the tiger moth (Pyrrharctia Isabella). Its name comes from the outer covering of fuzz on the caterpillar. The woolly bear caterpillar will feed on both the blossoms and foliage of the bush daisy plant, often consuming whole leaves or petals rather than leaving behind round holes or strips. Because of their fuzzy appearance, woolly bear caterpillars are relatively easy to spot and can be removed by hand.

About the Author

Paul Schuster began writing in 2006 and has published in "Gardening Life" and "Canadian Gardening." Schuster is the director of the Toronto Botanical Garden, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Horticulture from the University of Guelph. He leads gardening workshops for elementary school children.

Photo Credits

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