Moth caterpillar help required

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alan refail
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Moth caterpillar help required

Postby alan refail » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:56 pm

IMG_1186 (640x480).jpg
IMG_1186 (640x480).jpg (145.42 KiB) Viewed 2524 times


I would appreciate some help identifying these voracious little beasts. They are certainly moth caterpillars and are ravaging plants in the polytunnel. They are particularly attracted to beetroot foliage, but are a destructive nuisance on newly planted chicories etc. I have removed the few remaining beetroot and am squashing the caterpillars as often as I find them - which is very often. I have had the problem on a lesser scale in previous years, but this year is far worse. I had always assumed them to be tortrix moths

Image

but tortrix caterpillars look different. Unfortunately I find that there are over ten thousand species of tortrix :(
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Geoff
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Geoff » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:38 pm

Not sure this is correct but might be a near miss.
The Tiger and Ermine Moths (Arctiidae) have very hairy larvae known as woolly bears.
For example the Ruby Tiger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phragmatobia_fuliginosa
I like that the photo of the Garden Tiger is from the LLeyn http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=2057
You may have to search through the group to find a match, but they do seem to vary a bit, or spot a moth you might have seen.
Hope it helps, only 2,400+ species to choose from.
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alan refail
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby alan refail » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:33 am

Hi Geoff

Thanks for that. I don't think it's a tiger, though I haven't searched all the species. My moths (not around at the moment, of course) have no bright colours in them and look the same greyish brown as my tortrix picture. Tiger caterpillars seem to have longer hairs than the ones I am busy rooting out and squashing.
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Geoff » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:25 am

You could always do what we did as kids. Put caterpillar and some greenery in a jam jar with a perforated lid and hope you get it to pupate and eventually hatch out.
I've often thought there's a gap in the market for a larvae book.
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:48 am

Some army worms are hairy but i couldn't find an image of one. Birds might be your ally but not in a covered polytunnel. If all else fails a nemasys caterpillar treatment might work well in a tunnel, but at £22 for three treatments its very expensive.
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Parsons Jack
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Parsons Jack » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:30 am

Hi Alan,

Have a look at the Ermine moths. Both the White and the Buff.
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Cheers PJ.

I'm just off down the greenhouse. I won't be long...........
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alan refail
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby alan refail » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:58 am

Thanks PJ. My caterpillars look very like the white ermine's, but the moths were much darker than both ermines.
They are now largely under control thanks to a regular deployment of the finger and foot technique: pick 'em off and tread on them :wink:
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Parsons Jack » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:15 pm

Hi Alan,

Have a look at the Muslin Moth. Colours can be variable. Most of these moth caterpillars pupate in the soil for the winter, so if you're not careful, the problem just repeats itself :)
Depends how much pick and squash you have been up to :lol:
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Cheers PJ.

I'm just off down the greenhouse. I won't be long...........
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alan refail
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby alan refail » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:41 pm

I seem to have finally eliminated all of them by the "find and squash" method. I still don't know what they are, though.
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: Moth caterpillar help required

Postby Kleftiwallah » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:17 pm

This site may help.


http://www.uksafari.com/caterpillars.htm

Cheers, Tony.
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