What Eats Caterpillars: Birds and Insects That Prey on Caterpillars

Caterpillars are small to medium sized insects that are often found near greenery. Caterpillars are slow moving herbivores that are very high in protein. Because of this they are pretty far down on the food chain and have quite a few predators.

These predators can often come in handy as caterpillars are likely to be harmful and damaging to your garden. This is because they often feed on plants and grass. In this article I will be informing you of what helpful creatures can resolve your problems easily. So, what eats caterpillars?

What Eats Caterpillars

Here’s a list of the most common insects and birds that prey on caterpillars:


What Eats Caterpillars

Many different bird types, such as scarlet tanagers and American robins, often feed on caterpillars. This is because of how easy they are to access. Caterpillars often reside either on trees or grass so that they can feed easily.

Because of this, and because of how slow their pace is, bird species such as the warbler can easily take the opportunity to eat them. They are also very easy to find for birds due to their bright colours. 

Furthermore, caterpillars actually contain very high amounts of protein which is rarely ever found in plants. This protein is not only very healthy but also quite necessary for young birds to properly develop their bodies and bones.

They are also high in certain other nutrients, such as fat and energy density. All of this makes them a great choice for birds to incorporate into their diet. 

Yellow Jackets

What Eats Caterpillars

Yellow jacket is a frequently used name given to a predatory species of wasps that are known to be native to North America. Although these specific wasps are more prone to be drawn to a sweeter diet, they do need high amounts of protein in order to properly survive when they are young.

So even though they might prefer to attack your sugary drinks and food, yellow jackets are quite likely to find, capture and kill caterpillars, so that they can bring them back to their young ones. 

However, this hunt for caterpillars doesn’t usually last all year. As the year begins to evolve into mid to late summer, yellow jacket wasps are likely to switch back to their sugar-filled diet and forget all about the caterpillars for a little while.

They’re more prone to being on the lookout for caterpillars and other insects that nourish their young ones during the spring and early summer.   

Ladybird Beetles

What Eats Caterpillars

Ladybird beetles are common bright red insects, which are mostly known and referred to as ladybugs. They are known to have originated in Russia, China and Japan.

Although ladybird beetles will usually feed on aphids they may sometimes eat certain insects, including caterpillars. Because of how soft their bodies are, ladybird beetles may actually find caterpillars satisfying to chew and consume in general. 

Due to aphids and caterpillars being likely to damage gardens and plants in general, ladybugs come in handy. Some farmers may even use ladybird beetles to either get rid of or control the amount of harmful creatures like caterpillars roam their land.

However, ladybugs may not always be equipped for hunting and consuming caterpillars. This is because some caterpillars may be too spiny to ingest, and some even have stinging abilities that may harm the ladybird beetles.


Although amphibians are less likely to consume caterpillars, they may when given the opportunity. The reason they don’t eat caterpillars frequently is because of their locations.

Amphibians inhabit places that are close to bodies of water and aquatic ecosystems, such as ponds and lakes. Meanwhile, caterpillars are more likely to be found in your garden or park residing near or on a leafy tree or a particularly grassy patch of land.

Because of their drastically different residence, amphibians and caterpillars don’t cross their paths too often, meaning that amphibians don’t get the chance to eat them. 



Lacewings are net-winged insects that have been found to be widely spread over North America. These insects, similarly to the ladybug beetles, are carnivorous and mainly feed on aphids.

However, they do also enjoy eating pests with softer bodies, such as caterpillars. Because of this enjoyment, they are quite frequently used for pest control. They can also often get rid of harmful creatures, such as caterpillars, twenty times faster than other insects such as lady beetles and ground beetles.

What eats caterpillars: final thoughts

Overall, there are quite a few easily accessible creatures that can prevent caterpillars from causing your plants any harm. Not to mention, that not only will your garden benefit from the lack of caterpillars roaming around but the creatures consuming them will also get their fair share of protein and other nutrients.

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