Of course we are all, on this little planet, looking for our next meal so you can’t really blame those we label as pests for doing what we all do. However all’s fair and so I am putting together my own little A-Z of “insects” so I know who is friend and who is foe. I will try and include some mugshots and accompanying evidence and then a few notes on how to deal with them or for our friends, encourage them!
There I was digging away on the allotment at the start of January and who did I spot but this fellow amongst the weeds. After a quick photoshoot and relocation elsewhere, a few checks and it looks like this is the caterpillar of the Cabbage Moth – aka a cabbage/brassica chomping machine. Unusual I think to spot in January but it has been rather mild this year. Anyway, the best control is fine netting (be sure not to let the netting touch your plants otherwise there is still the opportunity for the moth to lay its eggs).
If leaves on your precious plants are starting to take on the appearance of Swiss Cheese then time to see if you have any flea beetles around.
They are not that hard to spot once you go on the hunt – around 2-3 mm in length, usually black and will leap away at the first sign of trouble.
Fine mesh netting before they arrive is your best bet along with planting flowers such as pot marigolds around (to attract the predators).
Wasp – Ichneumon sarcitorius
I was just doing a bit of weeding a spotted this creature scurrying away trying to find a place to hide after being turfed out of their lodgings.
A bit of detective work later and I am pretty sure it is a type of Wasp – namely an Ichneumon sarcitorius and in this particular case it is a female (the white bands on the antenna).
As this is parasitic wasp it is likely to prey on pests so this is a friend and as such best left alone to go about their business.