Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 Adam Tilt 7 Comments


Regular readers may remember my entry back in May showing some of the Cinnabar Moths that were just starting to emerge in our back garden. This was a great progression of a story that started back in July last year when we first discovered Cinnabar Moth caterpillars feeding on plants in our lawn. In the hope of encouraging an increase in their numbers this year we let several areas of Ragwort, their favourite food source, grow whereas normally we would have cleared them away. The experiment certainly seems to have worked as over the last couple of weeks we have seen the caterpillars devour almost our entire supply of what most gardeners would consider a weed.

24698 - Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar, Garden

Our walk last Saturday revealed another booming population along the coastal footpath above Three Cliffs Bay. Here the Ragwort was absolutely teeming with hundreds of caterpillars of all different sizes.

24723 - Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar, Gower

24721 - Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar, Gower

Back to the garden and the challenge for the rest of the year is to try and find out where the caterpillars hide to pupate through the winter months. Given that many of them have already disappeared I think that some detailed detective work is going to be required. The neighbours really are going to think I've gone mad when they see me crawling around the flower beds on all fours!

7 comments:

  1. Great that you are having success gardening for wildlife. Keep up the good work!

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  2. They really do have big appetites.
    I'll be interested to know where they hide too Adam.

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  3. Great photos. Ragwort seems to have been blighted with a bad reputation but it's fantastic for bees too.

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  4. Lovely images Adam... They are in abundance up here in Cheshire at the moment also...
    Keep up the detective work its so informative.

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  5. As you are in Swansea you might find this interesting.
    http://www.swanseafoe.org.uk/ragwort-and-the-advertising-standards-authority.html

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  6. Jeremy - thanks. The fist mini pond went in at the weekend so I'm looking forward to seeing what that will attract.

    Keith - they certainly do. I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

    Samanatha - thank you.

    Rob - talking of plants with bad reputations we have a large growth of Japanese Knotweed along our back lane but the Honey Bees absolutely love the stuff.

    Andrew - thanks and I will do.

    mabymynydd - that makes for very interesting reading. Consider myself very much on the pro-Ragwort team.

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