Castor Hairy Caterpillar

  • Symptoms

  • Trigger

  • Biological Control

  • Chemical Control

  • Preventive Measures

Castor Hairy Caterpillar

Pericallia ricini


In a Nutshell

  • Scraping damage manifests itself as light brown leaf tissue without chlorophyll.
  • Feeding damage appears on the unfolded leaves as a window-like pattern.
  • In heavy infestations, feeding damage leads to defoliation.




The damage is caused by the larvae. Initial symptoms appear as scrapping damage on the leaves as the larvae feed on the chlorophyll content of the leaf tissue. Over time, the leaves show a window-like feeding pattern, with large light-brown, translucent areas. The feeding damage leads to defoliation in cases of heavy infestations.


The castor hairy caterpillar is a nocturnal moth species. Thus, the adults can only be spotted in the late evening and during the night. The forewings of the stout adults are gray with dark spots and hindwings are pinkish. The larvae are black with a brown head and long brown hairs all over their body.

Biological Control

Kernel extract of neem seeds can help to control the infestation in early stages of larval development. Therefore, a 5 % solution of kernel extract should be mixed with 1 l of water.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments. If insecticides are needed, products containing chlorpyrifos can be used as foliar spray applications. Please take into consideration that the listed chemicals have a toxic impact on human health as well as on others mammals, bees, fish and birds.

Preventive Measures

Check your plants or field for any sign of the pest.,Handpick and destroy egg masses, larvae, infested plants or plant parts in the field to curb the progression of the infestation.,Attract the adult insects with light traps for monitoring purposes or mass-trapping in order to kill them.,For mass-trapping, use burning torches to attract the juvenile insects.,Remove infested plants and destroy them by burning.