HELP! Caterpillar infestation, bud rot! Neem ineffective

First time grow, and I have been super attentive along the way, like most beginners. Today while looking over my healthiest plant, I noticed a 1 cm long green caterpillar, and starting poking around the buds. The more aggressive I was in digging through the buds, the more worms I found. Every bud has multiple little worms eating away and ruining my plant (maybe all 3 plants, I haven’t checked super close).

I’d bet there are hundreds of worms in just one plant… Not super happy right now.

Took a pest inside and sprayed directly with Neem+Soap, and it didn’t skip a beat. It actually looked happy about it.

Holy crap these things are going to murder my plants if I don’t do something about it immediately. It’s gross as it is since there’s caterpillar poop all inside the buds.

I’d guess the plant I am most concerned about is 2-3 weeks from harvest.

Super bummed right now.


I feel your pain brother, I’ve been looking over my plants pretty aggressively as well since it’s my first grow and I have a bad problem with cutworms right now, which is basically a small caterpillar like bug, but they’re feeding on my buds crazy like and it’s pissing me off. The best advice I can give you is pick em off l, don’t try to spray the buds with anything that’ll taint the smell or taste and just gonna have to pray to the gods that you make it the rest of the way. I know I am. Just look through your plant as thoroughly a possible and pick em all off. How many plants are you growing?


I’ve never used this but . . .


Looked quick thru my other 2 plants and yeah they’re all infested. How could this have happened so quickly!?
I must have picked 20,30,50? little worms out of my best plant. A few buds were wrecked full of poop and numerous buds showing multiple worms all holed up in there. Yanked a bud or 2 because they were all brown and disgusting inside.

Feels bad beating up my plant so hard digging through for these but what else can I do.

Oh Man @trav We need a dislike button. I am so sorry you are dealing with this.


Well my son and I spent an hour picking thru all 3 plants, and got lots of them. Didn’t bother counting… Guess I’ll have to check again in a couple days and see if I can get some more.

The tweezers I was using to pluck them out got covered in super sticky finger hash resin, so I figured what the heck lets hot knife this stuff and see if I can turn my frown upside down.
A clear headed, crisp high. Just exactly how I like it. I am pretty sensitive to the stuff and end up paranoid & antisocial most of the time, but not this time. It’s just how I like it!
Feeling more positive about overcoming this issue now. It just really hurt my feelings when I saw what I saw.

Brings me back to the conversation I had with the guy at the nursery when they were 2 weeks old and got munched by a cricket.

“Best thing to do is cover them with mosquito netting.” Why didn’t I listen? Oh well. That’s how we learn sometimes.


Looking around it seems like this may be the safest way to deal with them. BT kurstaki seems to be particular variety that works on caterpillars. I have some BT israelensis on hand that’s supposed to kill fungus gnats, but is apparently no good for this pest.

Checked my outdoor girls this morning and found the same thing. Covered in Caterpillars!

wow, so sad :frowning:

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Oh no! I see you’re in SoCal too. My buddy from Huntington Beach is texting me saying caterpillars took out 2 of his plants, really made a mess of them.

I’m about to get cleaned up and head down to the store for some BT-K spray.


What about salt sprinkled around the out side of the garden area… :wink:
I’m pretty sure salt will kill them on contact… I’m just not sure how you can treat the plants without causing any damage… maybe a duster of some sort , kinda like a plastic mustard bottle with a pointy tip… so you can dust them with dry salt… grab one of them lil buggers and see if it works… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:

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Or maybe a spray bottle of water and rubbing alcohol… :wink:
There has to be something you can do… and that shouldn’t hurt your plants… try it on a smaller infected bud first… :wink:
:v: :sunglasses:

Since you can rinse the plant by completely submerging it in water you might try hitting it with some food grade D.E from the sides dust it everywhere for a couple days and spray rinse it off then wash the buds at harvest properly. @Hogmaster @Donaldj will have better advice and know if what I just told you is incorrect

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I agree with the de… but some how they need to get some sort of treatment into the buds… :wink:
Not sure what to recommend other then the rubbing alcohol to penetrate the infected buds… :wink:

:v: :sunglasses:


I was reading a post on here the other day about washing buds at harvest and I forget what was added to the wash but if we can figure out what the wash was made of i’m sure it is safe to spray on the buds.

Found it…


Do a search on Green clean they were saying on a post in here that you can use it up till a week before harvest

not sure what all this works on but you could research it


I got some Monterey BT today, but now the plants are wet from the rain today. Going to have to wait until the leaves dry out tomorrow.
Went thru every flower carefully and found at least one caterpillar on every bud site. And every bud site has blackness on it. I guess its worm shit? This sucks!
Spent some time with them yesterday flushing and didn’t see anything on them. They all appeared over night.


OK, interesting update. I’m trying to get some lemon and orange trees started from seed, and there’s about 8 sprouts growing in solo/styro cups out in the back yard. Had a look and noticed some wispy silk on a few of them, which suggests there’s caterpillars in there. Took out the flashlight and magnifying glass and found tiny little bastards gearing up to kill my sprouts. About a month ago a caterpillar ate a couple sprouts almost to death (amazingly they pulled through), and I never thought they’d invade my weed plants since I keep up with weekly neem sprays and whatnot. Wrong!
Picked up some BT-K concentrate from the local nursery today (last one on the shelf hmmm), but it looks like rain coming in.
So from what I can tell, these are Cabbage Looper caterpillars. I have spotted a couple of these moths around, too.

and some interesting info about them:“An adult cabbage looper moth lays multiple pale yellow, round eggs on each plant, both on the tops and bottoms of the leaves chosen. Each female can lay between 300-600 eggs in the 10-12 day adult lifespan. These eggs will hatch in 3-10 days.”


Look how tiny these things are! I don’t think manually picking them off cannabis buds is a real solution, cuz let’s face it nobody could ever get all these things that way. *** edit*** also, I spotted a couple cruising around on the soil, so they’re busy in there too.
These are inch tall plants-

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Likely not overnight, although it seems like it. Check it out, I think I captured some moth eggs in one of my pictures from the other day.



I have seen “spider-web” looking cocoons that cover the ends of branches, (on trees, not weed) and are filled with little caterpillars like that. Might be the same