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.
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.
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!