How To Get Catalpa Worms on Your Tree (Every Year!)

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Unless you are looking for the perfect bait for your next fishing trip, it’s no surprise that the idea of breeding worms on trees makes most people uneasy. But in this case, we WANT to know how to get Catalpa worms on our tree, every year!

There is a good possibility that you might have encountered these worms at least once while taking a walk in the garden during the summers.

If you think you can’t get catalpa worms on the trees of your garden, then think again. 

It is fairly easy to have these worms on your tree, thriving. All you need is a catalpa tree!

It all may seem very overwhelming initially, but don’t worry. We are here to simplify increasing Catalpa worm populations for you.

Sound good? Let’s get into it.

What is a Catalpa Tree?

The catalpa tree is also known as the cigar tree and is widely popular as an ornamental tree for your garden. 

This tree has a wide shade of fragrant white flowers and long seed pods. You might be thinking about how exactly this will help you get those worms or why this tree? 

It is simple: This is the tree that catalpa worms feed on exclusively. The large heart-shaped leaves of this tree are the nutrition of choice for these worms. 

But wait. Before you go ahead and plant this tree, you must know that there are commonly three species of the catalpa tree: 

  1. Northern Catalpa 

These are scientifically known as Catalpa Speciosa; it is native to the midwestern United States and can grow up to 40-70 ft. 

  1. Southern Catalpa

These are native to the southeastern part of the United States and are famously known as Catalpa Bignonioides. 

FUN FACT: The leaves of this tree are also beneficial and used for manufacturing fragrances.

  1. Chinese Catalpa 

The creamy yellow flower of this species makes it distinctive from the others. It is also known as Catalpa Ovata; it is native to western China. 

It is easy to get any of these species out of their native regions and to where you are. 

Widely popular for its decorative features, this tree can give your garden, park, etc., an aesthetic look. 

In addition, these trees are pretty robust plants, and they don’t require frequent watering or maintenance which also makes them popular.

Won’t Catalpa Worms Damage My Catalpa Trees?

The catalpa worms reside on these trees almost every year, but is it okay for worms to feed on the tree? Won’t it cause damage? 

The catalpa worm doesn’t damage the tree except for changing its physical appearance by feeding on its leaves. 

Besides, the Catalpa tree sheds its leaves naturally, once a year (a deciduous tree), which helps it recover from any damage.

Tips for getting Catalpa Worms On Your Tree 

If you have a Catalpa Tree Already

If your Catalpa tree isn’t providing you with worms this season, then you may have to “prime” your tree this year to give nature a hand. 

Grab 10-20 Catalpa worms from somewhere like a bait shop and your tree will start to provide a growing and thriving population for these worms and their offspring. 

  • A good tip is to never harvest every single worm on your tree. Leave a small population living in the tree to continue the cycle every season and every year. 

If you Don’t Have a Catalpa Tree

You can grow a catalpa tree in your garden just by planting the seed, which you can get from a local gardening store.

You can even start collecting the seeds of a grown catalpa tree from your neighborhood. 

An easier method, if available, might be to source a catalpa tree that is already starting to grow to speed up the process. 

NOTE: Transplants aren’t always successful, so you should be aware of this before you source one. 

The more grown they are, the less chance of surviving a transplant into your garden. If they’re around 2-4 feet tall, there’s a high 70%+ chance of survival. 

Either way, make sure you plant the seed with good drainage in a shaded area and water it lightly. 

Take note of monitoring the growth, and transfer the tree to larger pots or even the garden. 

If you want catalpa worms on your tree, it must have healthy foliage, which will serve the worms with food. 

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your tree is healthy: 

  • Watch out for any type of disease; these catalpa trees are vulnerable to various fungal infections, which include mildew or even verticillium wilt. To prevent this, you must keep your tree in an area of proper sunlight and keep the soil moist.
  • The growing season for these trees is mostly from early/late spring through summer. So if you want the trees to grow into healthy food for the catalpa worm, keep these plants under full sunlight where possible. 
  • Although these are deciduous trees and can shed their leaves seasonally, you must prune these once in a while because these trees can grow rapidly. Moreover, make sure you get rid of all the damaged foliage so that the fresh ones can grow.
  • It is recommended to use well-drained (alkaline) soil to grow these catalpa trees, but if you can’t get this, you can always add some fertilizers once every two months or so; this will make sure the trees grow to have fresh green leaves and delicate flowers.

Now that you know these few tips, you could grow a healthy catalpa tree that can be the ideal host for the catalpa worms. 

Also, don’t forget to check in with this tree’s bean pods, which can fill your garden as they have seeds in them. 

Unless you want numerous sixty-foot tall trees in your backyard, steer clear of these pods by removing them or clearing them off your garden floor regularly.


To conclude, if you are looking to get catalpa worms to use as fishing bait or even as compost, then all you need to do is grow a catalpa tree. 

These trees are generally used to make your garden look more appealing and extremely large. 

Catalpa worms feed solely on the leaves of these trees, so if you want these worms every year, you must take good care of the plant so that it grows healthy leaves and flowers. 

You must pay attention to these trees in their growing stage. Moreover, check for any diseases and avoid overwatering these trees. 

You might think continuous feeding of worms can severely damage the catalpa tree, but this is not true. 

As this tree is deciduous; also you can prune these trees to get rid of any leftover damaged leaves/branches. 

So you can have worms on these trees every year without ever harming the tree. 

To ensure these trees’ healthy growth, you have been provided with a few insider tips to grow and take care of your catalpa tree.