Great white will take a bite of your gar­den veg

Accrington Observer - - WILDLIFE -

CAB­BAGES be­ware! Af­ter rav­aging the nas­tur­tiums in our gar­den the cab­bage white cater­pil­lars are head­ing off to pu­pate over win­ter.

Yes they will be hang­ing around in quiet places ready to ap­pear next year to munch your veg­gies.

Our nas­tur­tiums nor­mally thrive in the late sum­mer sun­light but this year they were a sorry sight.

Re­mem­ber­ing that the chom­pers would turn into beau­ti­ful large white but­ter­flies made things a lit­tle eas­ier.

The large white is a com­mon but­ter­fly which flies be­tween April and Oc­to­ber so they will still be around now. I think they are more no­tice­able later in sum­mer but that is just my opin­ion as that’s when they ap­pear on my plants.

They will feed on all ‘bras­si­cas’ which are mem­bers of the cab­bage fam­ily and that in­cludes broc­coli, cau­li­flower, cab­bage and turnip.

The large white is a white but­ter­fly, with black tips to the forewings. The un­der­side of the wings is cream. The fe­male has two black spots and a dash on each forewing.

The big thing is that it is larger than the other white but­ter­flies and that in­cludes the small white, which also eats your cab­bages.

It is wide­spread, not only ap­pear­ing in my gar­den but across Europe, North Africa and Asia, in­clud­ing agri­cul­tural ar­eas of the Hi­malayas.

I have men­tioned this be­fore with other in­sects but many large whites travel over here from Europe.

Trav­el­ling a bit fur­ther, they were found in New Zealand in the early part of this decade but cap­ture and the in­tro­duc­tion of a killer wasp got rid of them as they were seen as a pest by farm­ers. Our grumpy gar­den­ers tend to just put up with them.

I am fas­ci­nated and will take pic­tures rather than killing these amaz­ingly beau­ti­ful crea­tures. I have en­joyed film­ing the cater­pil­lars as they made lunch of my flow­ers. It’s great when you can get re­ally good close-ups.

More good news on the but­ter­fly front is that red ad­mi­rals have ap­par­ently in­creased by 75 per cent from last year ac­cord­ing to the Big But­ter­fly Count. This is a re­sult of the mild win­ter and warm spring and should carry on next year too.

There have cer­tainly been more red ad­mi­rals around this year on our re­serves, so we must be do­ing some­thing right.

Make the most of the late sum­mer but­ter­flies be­cause when they are gone it means win­ter is here.

To be­come a mem­ber of the Trust go to the web­site at www. lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust.org.uk.

The large white but­ter­fly

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