Caterpillars in my buds!


Hello! I’m growing some Jack Herer. My plants started flowering around early-mid August, and my best estimate is that they’ve been in this stage for 6-7 weeks.

A few days ago, I noticed some of my buds turning brown. I promptly removed all of the afflicted buds I could find and figured it was bud rot. Yesterday, as I was looking for more bud rot, I found little green caterpillars crawling around some of my buds. I removed 3 of them, then went digging around again today and found ~10 more. I see no amber trichromes, and was planning to wait a few more weeks at least until harvest.

Is there anything else I can do other than be vigilant in removing the caterpillars and any rotted buds. I was thinking about spraying BT to take care of the caterpillars, but I’m worried to spray so late in the game. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


Sorry to hear you’re having trouble @Scorp77 A lot of Cali people had or having similar issues. @Trav @Manny_FTGUTube I know had serious issues. I think @Niala suggested BT K or something like that. Hopefully they will stop in your thread with the tag.


Thanks @AnneBonny for mention and tagging me, it’s appreciate :wink:

Here’s the link to my topic on that subject @Scorp77

Hoping that’s gone a help you Scorp77…

~Al :v: :innocent:


The stuff Al linked works right up to harvest with no adverse effects on you, the plant, the effects or the aroma. Something that other treatments fall short on. I read today someone trash bagging their plants with some dry ice to suffocate pests. You might look into that as, done right would be harmless to the plant and deadly to insects.

I used BT-K on 2 of mine and it kills them but takes several days.

If you are in California the culprit is the cabbage looper moth. That white butterfly everywhere. @Scorp77


Great, thanks for the help!! I’ll spray them down with BT-k. It was the only thing I’ve come across that I felt somewhat comfortable spraying my buds down with and you guys confirmed my research!

I do live in California and have noticed white butterflies in my garden. Never knew they could be such a nuisance!


Or use Spinosad. Monterey Garden Insect Spray at home improvement stores. Used on organic crops and tobacco to just a few days before harvest.

But BT is so safe for us mammals that GMO corn actually has the BT gene inserted so it makes it’s own BT!


I grow outdoor in Cali. every year I’ve had those caterpillars from the white moths. This year I grew some AK-47 which flowered early , I guess before the moths started laying. But they have gotten to my seed bag plants. I trim right after i chop and pick them off then. I don’ hang my harvest but stick them upright in foam board. Looks like a miniature dope forest. Anyways any caterpillars I’ve missed. their droppings show up on the white board then I can hunt the bastards down. So early maturing strains might help. I tried insect netting this year but am concerned how much light it cuts to the plants.


A good horticulture net will let pass around 99% of the light, so, no worries to have about that, :wink::grinning: @goldenwest and welcome to ILGM forum :grinning:, If you have more questions, do not hesitate and tag anyone of us by putting a @ before any members here, we will respond and help you as much as we can…:grinning:

And Bt-k can be use as a preventive tool against all caterpillars, moth’s and butterfly’s alike… :wink:

~Al :innocent: :v:


I just harvested a Cotton Candy plant and got 12 caterpillars out of it. There’s some decent buds left they haven’t got to to yet. You find them as you wet trim, considering I was pulling the buds apart to look for them. Gross. Don’t look like Cabbage Loopers though I did see one of those white butterflies in my grow area.

I went out and put some spinosad on the other plants. Doesn’t get rid of the caterpillars inside the buds but at least they will be dead and won’t do any more damage. I thought I had bud rot but now I think it was all damage from caterpillars. Next grow I an spraying on a regular schedule. Forget this organic nonsense. Now we have stuff like BT-K and spinosad that are so non-toxic to humans you can use them and not worry.


I experienced this first hand in Cali this year. Ruined my ww auto crop in July. Next year greenhouse.
What is BT K?


Here’s the link to my topic on the subject, it explain what Bt -K is, how it work and how to use it …

Hoping that’s gone a help you, @SourD,

~Al :v: :innocent:


You can buy BT-K at Home Depot or Lowes. It is so safe that there are few restrictions on it. Yoe can also buy spinosad (Monterey Garden Insect Spray) there too, It is another product made from a soil bacteria. It’s a nerve poison that quickly kills insects but is harmless to people. It is labeled as “organic” and is used on legal organic produce and tobacco, so it’s pretty harmless.


Thanks for all the input everyone!! I sprayed down my plants with spinosad, but as 1BigFella pointed out, the caterpillars like to hide deep in the buds so it wasn’t very effective. I ended up going out each morning for about a week and picked them out by hand - I typically picked out 2-4 per plant each day. Pretty annoying, but not the worst thing to happen. I harvested a week later and was able to minimize a lot of damage!! I didn’t get a chance to use Bt-K, but if I get another infestation again next year, I’ll give it a try.


I think maybe BT is better for caterpillars, and it’s good to have some BT on the plant before the butterflies or moths get there. So as soon as there eggs hatch, the tiny caterpillars die. BT is totally harmless and next grow outside I am going to have a regular scheduled BT spray every few weeks. Saw a cabbage butterfly near my outside grow area today, so they are still active.


I’ll need to try that next season too.