Saturday, May 26, 2012

How do I control Caterpillars in my vegies?

Cabbage White Butterfly Caterpillar
Hi Peter,
The last time I tried to grow kale I never got one single leaf from it – the caterpillars were so bad and so virulent.  Never had a chance.
It was so bad I will never grow that again.
It was so frustrating because I really like eating the stuff. And I really don’t like to buy stuff that’s been sprayed 5 times before I buy it.
Do you have any suggestions on how to keep these unseen caterpillars at bay?
Thanks for your newsletter

Kerry has trained her grade 1-2's to hunt for grubs, captured beasts are returned to our chooks.... brutal yeas but also very effective. Unfortunately we don't all have a class full of kids to do our dirty work, still as long as the pest pressure is not too great scouting and collecting is possibly the most effective grub control strategy.  Claude's problems sound like they were experienced earlier in the growing season when the warm weather encouraged new generations of grubs every 3-4 days.

The other idea I like is a physical barrier, some form of netting that is too fine for the butterflies to get through to lay their eggs.  Of course the plants need to be pest free to begin with.  We use bird netting over poly pipe hoops and I have found this approach very effective.

Possom Proof (and Butterfly) Tent on a magic Square Garden

Eventually there is the pesticide option. The most effective and one of the safest is DiPel. I have written about DiPel previously so I won't do it all again other than to remind you that it is essential to keep the bacteria alive.  Yes DiPel is a living bacteria that eats at the grub's gut once it has been ingested so check the use by date when buying  and keep the DiPel in the fridge.

1 comment:

  1. Netting is an effective approach. Somehow I am lucky, even though a lot of butterflies come and hover around, they have not laid eggs in my garden.


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