I’m in hunting/stealth mode following the article I posted about our very hungry caterpillars. Here is the catch (just half an hour of patient searching): caterpillars and some in their pupa stage.
I’ve been reading up some more, and here is a translation of what I found on the French wiki site (for some reason these details are lacking in the English version) on the life-cycle. Never know, one of my readers may have the same problem, so I thought I’d share.
Adults are nocturnal (moth). In Western Europe this species produces two to three generations each year.
- – The young larva survive the winter months in silk cocoons which they weave by pulling two leaves together to form a sort of pouch, on the infested bush.
- – The first generation of moths takes flight in June.
- – Eggs are laid in groups on the under-side of leaves.
- – Eggs become caterpillars.
- – Caterpillars,, when fully grown, measure 35 – 40mm in length. They then transform into pupa.
- – The pupa phase lasts approximately one month (hanging by the tail in a cocoon spun between two leaves)
- – Then it becomes a moth.
- – The last generation of the year (as caterpillars) then makes cocoons between 2 leaves to pass the winter.
- They leave their cocoons from March and start feeling on the leaves.
This explains why I’m finding 2 stages of development (caterpillars and the beginnings of pupa. I can’t go hunting for eggs because my eye-sight isn’t good enough but I sure can destroy as many of these things as I can find and stop the next generation from being able to transform. I hope that by acting now (and in the coming weeks) I will be able to limit the number of moths (therefore future eggs). If necessary, we will prune the second bush right down to a stump (and burn) before next Spring.
What I found interesting is . . . this insect lives exclusively on the boxwood bush/tree. “Hunting” for them is rather like cross stitch lol. You know, when you’re checking over your stitching, to make sure you haven’t made a mistake? My eye is becoming fully-trained to spot the slightest sign of silk, any leaf that is turned the wrong way, any 2 leaves that look stuck together because there’s always a caterpillar hiding.
There might not be any natural predators in France for this ravenous caterpillar that has come from Eastern Asia . . . but they’re going to have to deal with me! One of my French readers has suggested I use “black soap” in a diluted spray or a rhubarb leaf cocktail . . . So will add that to my arsenal too.