All the butterflies and moths in our gardens belong to the Lepidoptera Family of insects. They have a pair of wings covered with tiny overlapping scales that give them their colors. A few moth species are wingless.

Butterflies are distinguished from moths by their slender bodies and slender antennae with small clubs on the ends.

Both moths and butterflies are not harmful in their adult form. These critters feed on nectar from flowers using their long, coiled tongues. Some of them feed on sap from trees, rotting fruit, carrion and animal droppings.

The larvae of several species, however, are considered pests. Among these would include gypsy moth caterpillars.

Most butterflies and moths are harmless and do not require control in the adult stage of their life cycle. If you are having a problem with caterpillars, look up your plant to determine what kind of caterpillars maybe damaging it and follow the control method described.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

Types of Insects

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