Monday, September 22, 2008

It's a cabbage moth!

Remember those caterpillars I found on my client's pelargoniums?

Well - thank you to all who replied. Plant Mad Nige offered a tentative ID as an Angle Shades Moth - but here's the pic of their caterpillars from the RHS's advice sheet on the subject:

(image: Tim Sandall).

Not really very similar to my little critter:

But enter the RHS's Principal Entomologist (no less), A J Halstead, who suggests my little friend is a rather more humbly-named Cabbage Moth - aka Mamestra brassicae. I looked this up on UK Moths - and sure enough:

(picture (c) Dave Griffin)

I think we have our culprit. Sadly he is a culprit, too - the moth is described as a "notorious pest" on UK Moth's info page on the subject, scoffing not only all members of the brassica family but clearly pelargoniums too.

Still - I love solving a good mystery. Now I have to go murder a lot of rather pretty caterpillars...


Plant Mad Nige said...

Well, you can't find a better authority than Andrew. He's the absolute beez kneez when it comes to bug i/ds

Glad you got the problem identified. Now all you have to do is solve it. Are there few enough caterpillars - and are you tough enough - to pick and squish?

The Constant Gardener said...

thanks for volunteering your guess anyway nige - I thought you came pretty close :D

I'm dreading having to squish the things... they're quite big... I think I might go for the pot of salty water option. Or just ship them somewhere a long way away where they can't do any more harm (at least, not to people's gardens, anyway)

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