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Lepidoptera: plant parasites

Lepidoptera: plant parasites

Lepidoptera, which are the butterflies, and one wonders why to defend oneself from these often harmless and beautiful creatures. The fact is that with this name when we talk about plants, we must also mean their larvae and those are harmful. They have a aggressive chewing system which is able to devour them. Having it with moths, therefore, means wanting eradicate caterpillars and eggs, to do this we must activate when they are laid, in spring and autumn, paying attention even in winter if we are taking care of plants in the greenhouse.

Lepidoptera: characteristics

In the category of Lepidoptera there are over one hundred thousand species, almost all native to tropical areas but now widespread throughout the world. As far as our country and the European continent are concerned, we can count about four thousand species, a considerable quantity in which we find everything and more: Lepidoptera with the most different shapes, colors and sizes.

In general they are all smaller than their cousins ​​living in tropical areas but the general structure always remains the same. Adult specimens have antennae, legs and wings of the most diverse colors, sometimes they are colorful, other times more mimetic. But what should be of interest to us when we talk about plants and cultivating is not all of this and not even the apparatus that produces pheromones, nor the trunk with which they suck the nectar, but the chewing apparatus. That sure is harmful, capable of making a beautiful disaster.

Lepidoptera of the geranium

Geranium is thick victim of Lepidoptera which, in the guise of a caterpillar, ruin it both aesthetically and from the point of view of health that in the long run it suffers. It is useless, however, to make preferences, because these animals are a problem for almost all plants, the larvae also devour the fat plants, let alone, and love, like everyone, orchids.

They are not spared either vines, citrus fruits, cotton, tobacco, soy and numerous flowering plants in addition to geranium, such as rose, gerbera, chrysanthemum and carnation. As for fruit trees, few are saved and the same goes for vegetables and broad-leaved trees, including poplar.

Defoliating Lepidoptera

The Defoliating Lepidoptera they are one of the categories in which these animals are divided, based on the type of chewing and also the damage they do to plants, two aspects linked to each other. THE defoliators in particular are those who they eat the leaf limbs leaving only the rib, then there are the miners who delight in digging tunnels both in the wood and in the leaves.

With a poetic name but no less annoying, there are also the Embroidering Lepidoptera that while they nibble the leaves almost as a joke they create “little drawings” like lace and lace on their foil.

Boxwood moths

In the previous list I did not explicitly mention boxwood but also of this plant i Lepidoptera are very greedy. In this article on the Boxwood defoliator caterpillar all the information of this specific case and some personal experience.

Lepidoptera: the larvae

Larvae are the true enemies of plants, not all Lepidoptera in general, because precisely they with a terribly voracious mouthparts devour not only the leaves, but also the buds, the fruits and partly the woody twigs. To hunt them it is necessary to identify the eggs from which they then develop with a rather repellent look, small, white or yellowish.

Usually it proceeds removing the eggs by hand before they hatch and disasters occur, in the period of early spring: March. However, if the number is exaggerated, and a team of Lepidoptera hunters would be needed, then it becomes necessary to use biological or chemical products.

Nocturnal Lepidoptera

THE Noctuids are the Lepidoptera active at night, they can have various sizes because their daily habits do not depend on the size. This variety usually has a body made of scales and brown color, the wings spread wide so that they can fly even for a long time and they can exhibit anonymous or even variegated colors.

The larvae of these Lepidoptera they are short and robust, with 10 legs, 5 pairs, green or greyish. The noctuids' diet is based on plants, so our plants are part of their menu. An example for all is the Agrotis ypsilon.

Lepidoptera: biological repellent to fight them

If it disgusts us or it is an impossible task to remove the larvae or eggs one by one with your hands from our plants we can resort to biological repellents for free ourselves from the Lepidoptera. Here is one for 14 euros that is easy to find online.

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You may also be interested in:

  • Bacillus Thuringiensis
  • Biological control of the borer in the box
  • Boxwood borer
  • The care of the Boxwood


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