on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

These were collected from various brassicas (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts) and greens (which, I don't know, might include brassicas).

Yes, they're "cute caterpillars."

Unless you're a gardener, and then they're the larval form of the cabbage white moth. Do you know what that is? It's those pretty white "butterflies" fluttering all around.

They quickly land on a victim plant and drop off a tiiiiiny egg. You can see them if you look close enough. About the size of a period in the newspaper, but creamy yellow.

Once those hatch the tiny caterpillars grow up fast, devouring the leaves of the plants they were born on, and pooping "frass" all over the place.

For some reason, I don't seem to have any predators that like these caterpillars, so I hand pick them and toss them in the pond. You have no idea how satisfying it is to watch a fish jump up and gulp one down!

I have also been treating with a combination of Garden Dust (organic pesticide powder) and diatomacious earth (ground up dead diatoms from the ocean if I remember correctly)... These two powders DO help leave some caterpillar carcasses on the plants, but rain washes the powders away.

The best thing to do, which worked great on the spring broccoli, but I was lazy/crowded for space and didn't do for the late summer planting of broccoli, is to cover the young plants with floating row cover, a sheer fabric that lets through light and water but not insects. Stops the critters from ever getting laid!
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