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6 messages
14/08/2013 at 14:32

PLEASE    ,,,,,    Can anyone suggest a safe spray for food crops . My cabbages which have about 10 leaves infested by green caterpillers . I know butterflies are in short supply but is there anything I can use( other than my fingers to remove catterpillers ) to spray on cabbages to prevent this happening . never been bothered before . I grew to seedling stage , pricked out into pots , are about 6 inch high but still in greenhouse . I have no ground yet until peas are finished .

14/08/2013 at 23:54

Hi lucky3, the trick to preventing caterpillars is to net the plants to stop butterflies laying their eggs in the first place.  You can't buy a spray that will stop them laying eggs, but you can buy sprays that will kill the caterpillars without (allegedly) harming anyone who eats the sprayed plants, provided the instructions on the label are followed properly.  Google "bug clear for fruit & veg".

15/08/2013 at 00:11

In future you could try this 

" parasites to attract include: braconid and the tachonid fly. Both of these are attracted by plants such as dill and parsley, so think about introducing these and other herbs into your garden. Also, reduce the amount of insecticides used which may kill not only pests but also beneficial insects. If you find dead, parasite-infested caterpillars don’t throw them away! Take advantage of the situation and lay them in problem areas of your patch to help spread the parasite and eliminate the problem."

15/08/2013 at 06:19

Grow some nasturtiums nearby, the cabbage white butterflies love them and will lay their eggs on the leaves in preference to your brassicas - then if you want to, when the caterpillars are chomping through the nasturiums you can pull them out and put them on the compost heap. 

15/08/2013 at 07:10

Dove is right - nasturtiums will help and also curry plants placed near the brassicas  are a good deterrant. Apparently the butterflies hate the smell (where are their noses I wonder?) and should keep away. My biggest problem with cabbages at the moment is SLUGS!

15/08/2013 at 09:05
BobTheGardener wrote (see)

Hi lucky3, the trick to preventing caterpillars is to net the plants to stop butterflies laying their eggs in the first place.  You can't buy a spray that will stop them laying eggs, but you can buy sprays that will kill the caterpillars without (allegedly) harming anyone who eats the sprayed plants, provided the instructions on the label are followed properly.  Google "bug clear for fruit & veg".

Bob is right, only sure fire way is to net the plants (Oh that I'd done that this year!) I have to go through all the plants two or three times a day and remove all the eggs I find. Inevitable I miss afew and I start to see holes appearing in the leaves. I really do not want to use insecticides so I've given myself a lot of work as the large whites (Cabbage Butterfly) are relentless. I'm the only person in at least 6 houses either side of me that is growing veg and all the butterflys think it's 'showtime' and I've prepared them a Michelin 3 star restaurant.

I've decided that next year I'm going to net all my raised beds with fine mesh but that means I've also got to prepare some frames to attach them to...Hey-Ho!

Type butterfly netting into Google and a number of sites will pop up. JH

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