Budworms are moth caterpillars that chew their way into the tightly coiled buds of flowers and slowly eat them from the inside out. Budworm caterpillars start life as tiny larvae that measure less than 1/16 inch (1.5 ml.) long but grow up to 2 inches (5 cm.) over the course of the summer. These larvae start out cream-colored with brown heads and light-colored stripes but mature into colors ranging from green to rust to black. Identification should be simple — they’ll be the caterpillars eating your flowers from the inside out. Budworms feed on all types of vegetative buds but primarily focus on flower buds and maturing ovaries. Flower buds often fail to open, but those that do look ragged from all the petal chewing. As the summer progresses, the damage gets more severe. Fortunately, these pests only feed for about a month before dropping into the soil to pupate, giving your flowers a chance to recover. Two generations a year are common, with the second generation being much more damaging than the first.