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Will I be able to take care of the issue by vigilantly hunting these creatures (which manages my snail problem fairly well), or do I need chemicals, mantises, Wile E. Coyote style traps, etc.?

Most of the damage is confined to the flower part of the plant. A few leaves have a few bites taken out, but they dont seem interested in eating the green part. They tend to hide in the.... shaft?-of the flower. They are visually similar to the worms in this question. Size is roughly .5cm to 1cm. The plants are planted in the ground, not a hanging basket. Located in New Mexico, USA. This question doesn't really help. Some Photos:

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enter image description here It's sort of hard to see in this photo, its holding onto the... Stamen? Pistol? Growy part with seeds on the end.

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Every time I plant petunias I prepare for my battle against the budworms (they are actually caterpillars).

These caterpillars are voracious and will cause extensive damage quickly. I have tried a few homemade "safer/greener" concoctions, none of which worked. Pesticide spray listed for budworms works the best for me.

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