Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Cabbage Whites

The caterpillars of both the Large White and Small white butterfly are known as Cabbage Whites – as, indeed, are the butterflies themselves. The reason for this is apparent once you visit a cabbage patch that has not been sprayed with insecticides.

The Large White lays its eggs in batches and once the caterpillars hatch they can be found everywhere – preferring plants in the cabbage family, Brassicaceae or Cruciferae, (and therefore delighting in the family vegetable patch) but also moving on to other plants when their supply of crucifers runs out. The caterpillars colour warns birds that they are unpleasant to taste.

The Small White lays its eggs individually or in very small groups and the less obtrusive caterpillars are much more inclined to hide away, relying on camouflage rather than off-putting colours to keep birds from preying on them.

For those who want to save their cabbages and sprouts from the effect of these caterpillars, here is a non-toxic pest control solution:-

Finely chop a head of garlic. Put into 2 pints of warm water and stir thoroughly. Leave for four hours or more. Strain through a coffee filter or fine muslin and pour onto a spray bottle. Spray the affected plants – or plants you want to deter the pests from - every other day for two weeks.

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