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Black Olive Caterpillar Diagnostic Guide

Characoma niloticafeed

Black olive caterpillar (Characoma niloticafeed) feeds on flowers and leaves of black olive trees. The larvae’s droppings can also be a nuisance. Low populations of black olive caterpillar do not cause extensive damage. However, high populations, skeletonizing feeding of late instars can ‘brown out’ trees, and cause them to defoliate. Multiple years of damage can negatively affect the health an already stressed tree

Trees at Risk

Black olive and buttonwood.

Black Olive

Buttonwood

Signs of Damage

  • Flowers of black olive are consumed, followed by skeletonization of canopy.
  • Staining due to frass under affected trees.
Black Olive Caterpillar

Caldwell, D. University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS

Black Olive Caterpillar

photo: Stephanie Sanchez butterflies.heuristron.net

Black Olive Caterpillar

photo: WikiCommons

Treatment Strategy

Only in severe cases of infestation is treatment warranted.

  • Soil Application using Lepitect

    Dosage: Trees <15 in DBH: 0.2 oz/in DBH Trees >15 in DBH: 0.2 - 0.4 oz/ in DBH
    Timing: Apply two weeks prior to anticipated outbreak
    Re-Treatment: 30 days later if larvae are still feeding
    Lepitect Systemic Tree & Ornamental Insecticide
    Lepitect Login for pricing
  • Foliar Spray using Conserve

    Dosage: 6 fl oz/ 100 gal water
    Timing: Begin sprays at bloom
    Re-Treatment: Repeat applications 14 days as needed
    Conserve
    Conserve Login for pricing
  • Foliar Spray using Tengard

    Dosage: 6 oz/ 100 gal water
    Timing: Begin sprays at bloom
    Re-Treatment: Repeat applications 14 Days as needed
    Tengard
    Tengard Login for pricing
  • Foliar Spray using Acelepryn

    Dosage: 1 - 8 fl oz/100 gal water
    Timing: Begin sprays at bloom
    Re-Treatment: Repeat applications 14 days as needed
    Acelepryn
    Acelepryn Login for pricing
  • Tree Injection using Aracinate

    Dosage: 5 mL/ 2 in DBH
    Timing: Stem injection prior to bloom
    Re-Treatment: Annual-biennium
    Aracinate
    Aracinate Login for pricing

Treatment Strategy Expected Results

  • Soil injections of Lepitect will begin efficacy within 3-10 days for most pests. Control on larger trees will not occur as quickly (2-3 weeks). Lepitect soil applications last for 30 days after treatment. Repeat applications may be necessary if pest activity persists for longer than 30 days.
  • Conserve has a short residual (4-7 days) but is softer on beneficial insects, whereas Tengard will provide slightly longer residual, but is broad spectrum.
  • Trials by Davey displayed excellent season-long control with the use of Aracinate.

A Diagnostic Guide is designed to help you identify a pest issue and management solutions. Always refer to product label for all rates and approved uses. Some images courtesy forestryimages.org. Use of the images does not imply endorsement of treatments by forestryimages.org

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