I'm in Sydney, Australia. I live in an apartment 3 stories off the ground floor.

My chilli plants are in pots on my balcony.

Recently (last 2 weeks) I have noticed that something is eating the leaves of one of the chilli plants. I have not done any sleuthing at night yet. Today is a Saturday and I have not seen any further damage during the day.

The pot with the most damage looks to be surrounded by droppings of the culprit. What could it be?

Update: I went out in the evening with a torch and yep, it was 2 fat caterpillars. I thought I had checked the plant during the day, but I guess I wasn't thorough enough. I checked a few more times during the night and no more turned up. A lot of damage for just 2 caterpillars!

Eaten leaves


  • 4
    From the size of the dropping/damage I think it's a caterpillar. Did you check the leaf undersides, and down at the soil line? If nothing turns up, you can try to waylay the pests. stay out and watch one night, and yoou'll probably catch 'em red handed.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


A torch at night to see what you can see - I reckon it might be earwigs because they do leave droppings. If you don't see anything, fill a pot with straw or shredded newspaper, invert it on a stick and shove the stick in a pot - with any luck, the earwigs (if that's what they are) will choose that to hide in during the day. Empty the pot in the morning, tapping out the contents, to see if anything is in there. Otherwise, as already suggested, maybe a caterpillar, possibly slaters if they're desperate - they do eat young tender leaves at times, though the damage doesn't appear to be on the youngest leaves.

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