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White and fluttering!


I looked up the other day and wondered how on earth it could be snowing in this heat. Well it couldn’t be and it wasn’t! It was in fact just a thousand white butterflies descending on my garden. Both snow and butterflies are beautiful, but at the wrong time, both can be very destructive.

It’s not the butterfly per se that is the problem, it’s the offspring, the caterpillars that consume the cabbages, kale, cauliflowers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. And man can they eat their way through a garden. What do they do with it all? I can’t see how one large cabbage can fit into a tiny caterpillar, no matter how fat it is. I dread to think.

Here are some tips on how to control them.

Each day go around shaking / wiping off the eggs from the leaves – tiny yellow dust type things and pulling off any caterpillars you come across and disposing of them.

If you want to avoid that never ending task, cover the beds with insect exclusion netting, then they can't get to the plants in the first place. You will be amazed at the difference that simple solution makes to the health and quantity of your crop.

Encourage their predators to hang around – parasitic wasps and ladybugs.

You can use organic insecticides.

Plant nasturtiums, marigolds and mint around the beds, to deter the white flutterers, as they don’t like them much – apparently – we have plenty of mint, and still they come!

So there are a number of options, but for me the netting is the best, as it stops the beauties without having to kill them. I know they are an introduced species to these shores and as such a pest to the original inhabitants, but aren’t we all?