Caterpillars, loopers, worms, etc. are the larvae of moths and butterflies. This broad pest group is comprised of members of a multitude of families and species. Caterpillars can be very frustrating pests to have. They'll usually make themselves known by the damage they cause to your plants; and the damage is typically noticed when the situation is pretty much out of hand.
Moth caterpillars can infest and cause damage not only outdoors but indoors as well. Moths such cloth moths and pantry moths can infest and damage cloths, carpets and grains/food in you pantry.
HOST PLANTS: Caterpillars feed on the green foliage of most vegetables and plants.
SYMPTOMS: Usually the first sign of caterpillars will be an absence of massive amounts of greenery. These pests can cause massive amounts of damage to trees, bushes, etc. Another indicator, besides half of your plant being eaten alive, will be the fecal matter found below the feeding site.
CATERPILLAR CONTROL: Starting a caterpillar control program doesn't mean you have to wait until the following year of an infestation, hoping to catch the newly-hatched caterpillars early in their life cycle. Some caterpillars pupate in the soil, and in such cases, they may be able to be controlled there using a soil pest predator. Some caterpillars lay their eggs in the late summer. The application of parasitic wasps trichogramma platneri (if you are west of the Rocky Mountains) or trichogramma minitum (if you are east of the Rocky Mountains) will help destroy the eggs as the wasps will parasitize and lay their own eggs inside of the caterpillars', producing more wasps to fight your infestation. A caterpillar egg that has been infected by a trichogramma will be black instead of their normal white color.
Another useful caterpillar predator is the Podisus macuilventris. This warrior beetle feeds on adult caterpillars, loopers, and other types of worms in the caterpillar family. Apply a combination of both the trichogramma and podisus to provide double the caterpillar controlling power.