London (change)
Today 16°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 14°C / 8°C

Elephant hawk moth

Symptoms

Thick, 8cm-long, nocturnal caterpillars strip the leaves off fuchsias during the second half of summer. They hide under the leaves during the day.
Find it on: fuchsias, wildflowers including rosebay willowherb
Time to act: mid- to late-summer

Overview

The large, beautiful caterpillar larvae of the elephant hawk moth has two pairs of eye markings, which are made even more prominent when it withdraws its head into its body. They are, typically, a blackish-brown colour but are sometimes green, and though their 'eyes' make them look quite dramatic, they are completely harmless. However, they can strip a fuchsia of its leaves at night. Active from mid- to late-summer, they can be found hiding during the day on the undersides of leaves.
Solution
Thick, 8cm-long, nocturnal caterpillars strip the leaves off fuchsias during the second half of summer. They hide under the leaves during the day.
Organic
Keep a constant lookout, particularly at dusk, for the caterpillars and pick them off, moving them to a clump of wildflowers such as rosebay willowherb or marsh bedstraw. Do not kill them because they go on to form one of the UK's most beautiful moth residents. If leaf damage is minimal, action isn't necessary.



Discuss this problem

Talkback: Elephant hawk moth
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Jo47 31/08/2014 at 15:38

I don't like fuchsia............. but this is exactly why I am growing them :-)

Lyn 31/08/2014 at 15:50

I agree, I have them as well, beautiful caterpillar.

MauriceF 01/09/2014 at 08:24

I shouldn't be surprised finding a caterpillar yesterday - I have a collection of fuchsias.

David K 01/09/2014 at 10:28

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c186/DavidKnapper/613fa9cb-9d55-4711-9cf9-1bb6e730b07b_zps8675f9c4.jpg

 

Lyn wrote (see)

I agree, I have them as well, beautiful caterpillar.

 

One I took earlier, not sure everyone would describe it as 'beautiful'.

 

Lyn 01/09/2014 at 14:16

You just didnt capture his best side David!

See more comments...