Saturday 18 August 2012: Caterpillars
These are the caterpillars that give all the others a bad name.
They will become the Beautiful Cabbage butterfly, Large cabbage white, Large white , call them what you will. Their name, Pieris brassicae, tells us that they feed on cabbages. They really aren't fussy as long as the food is from the brassicaceae family but for preference go straight for cultivated cabbages and brussel sprouts. Other plants they love, but not members of the cabbage family, are nasturtiums, wall flowers and alyssum.
In a vegetable plot or on a farm they can cause havoc as they devour their way through crops often leaving only the stalks.
They were found in New Zealand for the first time on 2010 and are now on the countries most wanted list!
Birds won't eat them as the caterpillars produce chemicals that make them distasteful. One little wasp, Apanteles glomeratus, is a hero. It's a biological pest control, parasitising the newly hatched caterpillars.
It is however important not to be too harsh on them. Without these caterpillars there would be no butterfly.
It's been a glorious and very hot day. The dogs need a walk now the air has cooled so I'd better get a move on. The evening light is getting shorter all too quickly.