How to Get Catalpa Worms on Trees: A Comprehensive Guide

Catalpa worms are the larvae of the Catalpa Sphinx moth-commonly known as Ceratomia catalpa-and they are appreciated by anglers mainly because they constitute excellent fishing baits. These ferocious caterpillars are especially found feeding on the leaves of Catalpa trees – Catalpa spp. It is a tree whose leaves are big heart-like and have prominent beautiful blooms. It can therefore be a very rewarding pastime to be able to develop an effective way to grow and sustain a healthy population of catalpa worms on your trees, apart from being an intriguing project, it can also be beneficial for fishermen. Local gardening experts and other authors have provided the following detailed procedures will help you get catalpa worms onto your trees.

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However, first and foremost, it should be mentioned that before describing the detailed instructions on how to get rid of either the catalpa tree or the catalpa worm, we should briefly discuss the biology and life cycle of both species.

Catalpa Trees:

Catalpa trees, which are also known as Catawba or Indian bean trees, originate from North America only.

There are two primary species:

Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa):

This variety is larger and is more resistant than to the other brinjal plants, which are typically grown in the central region of the United States.

Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides):

Often smaller or less frequent and found in the country’s southeast region.
Thrift prefers well-drained sandy loam soil and full sun and is moderately fast-growing with heights of up to 60 feet.

Catalpa Worms:

In this case, the Catalpa worms are found to be the caterpillars of the Catalpa Sphinx Moth. The moth lays its eggs on the underside of the catalpa leaves and as soon as the eggs hatch, their young-the caterpillars start eating furiously. These water lice go through their ‘instars’ stages, each becoming in turn even bigger and far more damaging to the foliage.

Steps to get Catalpa Worms On Trees

Planting Catalpa Trees:

Site Selection:

Select an area that receives a lot of sunlight and is not compacted so that Drainage is excellent. These are adaptable trees that can grow well in different types of soil but are mostly found in soils with slightly acidic to neutral pH levels.


This was a root ball, then dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Bury the tree into the hole described then fill up the hole with soil up to where the trunk of the tree is before finally applying water to it. Add a layer of organic matter around the stem area to provide moisture and reduce the formation of weeds.

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Caring for Catalpa Trees:


It has been discovered that young trees of catalpa species require water and this is more evident during dry season. Here, more established trees are somewhat more resistant to the drought, but their roots will appreciate occasional deep soaking in times of extended fair-weather conditions.


This plant prefers to grow in areas that receive full sunlight and should be fertilized using a balanced fertilizer (for example 10-10-10), in the early Spring. It also stresses some precautions to be taken: – Do not fertilize frequently, as this may result in the growth of new leaves at the cost of flowers as well as the general health of the Tree.


Trim off any diseased or broken branches with a pruner during the late winter or early spring for reasons of aesthetics and to remove disease sources.
Attracting Catalpa Sphinx Moths:


Generally, Catalpa Sphinx moths feed at night from the period of late spring to early summer. Having well-leaved trees during this period enhances the possibility of attracting moths as your trees Healthy trees that have foliage during this period will help increase the successful possibilities of the pest getting to the circuit plants.

Creating Habitat:

Growing other flowers crops or plants that offer nectar to moths near the catalpa trees means that you increase the chances of the female moths laying eggs on the trees. Since moths are night active, night-blooming flowers can do wonders to attract them most efficiently.

Avoiding Pesticides:

In particular, avoid or use less often broad-spectrum, synthetic pesticides when active adult males and females of this pest are foraging for mates and food since they can effectively eliminate the source of these pests and also other beneficial insects.

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Monitoring and Managing Catalpa Worms:

Egg Detection:

The spider is easy to identify regularly one must check the underside of the catalpa leaves for clusters of small white eggs. This can enable you to be in a position to forecast the time that the caterpillars will hatch.

Larvae Management:

After hatching, these will lay eggs on the plants and once the caterpillars are hatched, they feed on the leaves. If you want to use it for fishing then you can pick it by hand or shake the branches over a container. However, if you wish, to manage the number of them to avert too much loss of foliage, you have to physically chase away some larvae or employ friendly predators such as birds.

Promoting Natural Predators:

There are some methods, and one of them is birds, specifically, robins, and other insectivorous species, can help in the regulation of the population of catalpa worms. Some of the natural predators of these birds may include cats, snakes, and lizards, and these animals can be attracted to your garden through bird feeders and nesting boxes.

Dealing with Defoliation:


Catalpa trees endowed quite a tolerance degree towards essential defoliation not resulting rather severe harm. They usually coppice /sprout back their leaves when they are done being a food source for the caterpillars that undergo the process of metamorphosis.


In the worst affected case, defoliation can be checked by using other forms of Organics such as the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt. ) which is a bacterial insect control for caterpillars. However, it is advisable to only use but occasionally because it can be disruptive to the ecosystem.

Long-term Strategies and Considerations

Tree Diversity:

Selection of trees and shrubs for planting can be done in such a way that the problem of pests and diseases would not escalate greatly.

Sustainable Practices:

Explaining that practices like composting, mulching, and the usage of organic fertilizers are adjusted when sustainably cultivating plants. Pest-Specific Approaches These enhance soil quality and encourage a balanced documentation of the various insects, thus controlling the pest species naturally.

Observation and Adaptation:

Catalpa trees should be monitored frequently, as should the overall environment they are in. Modify your management plan according to the health status of the trees, and the existence of catalpa worms. It is always important to know that there are no hard and fast rules in each garden and the focus is to be as versatile as possible.

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To grow Catalpa worms on your trees, there is a need to plant the trees, properly manage the trees, and create a proper ecosystem for the Catalpa Sphinx moth. Knowing the life cycle and requirements of the catalpa tree and its caterpillar friends will help you design an environment that will be conducive to the existence of these interesting creatures. For fishing bait or just for the simple satisfaction of witnessing the wonders of nature, having catalpa worms on your trees can be very beneficial. Bear in mind, however, that you should not overdo your love for these caterpillars to the detriment of the trees’ well-being in your garden, as this will create an unbalanced ecosystem.