How to protect plants from caterpillars with dish soap & water – ‘natural & inexpensive’

Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests

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Many species of caterpillars spend the winter months in cocoons before emerging in May and June. In gardens around the UK, caterpillars may start popping up on leaves and flowers. However, this can spell bad news for your beloved plants.

Though there are several different varieties of caterpillars in the UK, most like to feast on leaves, foliage, roots and flowers.

According to Gardeners World, shredded leaves can be one sign caterpillars are eating your plants.

In some cases, the leaves may be completely decimated and the plant can die.

Though there are chemical-based pesticides available to protect your garden from caterpillars and other bugs, some of these can pose a threat to pets, your soil or even some of your plants.

For example, using insecticides can also kill off beneficial bugs and pollinators such as bees.

However, there is a natural way you can “keep caterpillars at bay” according to GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk.

How can you protect your plants from caterpillars?

A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “Caterpillars love to nibble their way through fruits, vegetables, and plants.

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“They are also detrimental to some flowers too, with the buds and seeds often all destroyed.

“One of the most natural and inexpensive ways to rid your plants of these pesky bugs is to spray them with hot soapy water.

“This can then be poured into a spray bottle and used as many times as necessary.”

Before spritzing your plant, try to pluck off any large infestations of caterpillars you may notice.

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According to Gardening Know How, if caterpillars have laid eggs on your plant or its leaves, these can also be removed with a flush of hot soapy water.

You may also be able to deter some varieties of caterpillars from climbing up onto your plants by protecting their base.

The experts from Gardening Know recommend placing cardboard or tin foil at the base of your plant.

They also recommend keeping “the ground around your plants free from debris where eggs might hide.”

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