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How to recognize caterpillars and moths

Butterflies and moths form a very large and easy recognizable group of insects. The butterfly’s popularity is due to their colourful appearance and beautiful wing patterns. In addition, there are a large group of butterflies that have a less remarkable appearance: moths. These butterflies are often nocturnal and have a gray-green-brown color and are difficult to distinguish from each other. Most butterfly species that cause damage in greenhouses usually belong to the group of the moths. Adult butterflies can be recognized by their four membranous wings which are covered with tiny scales. These scales are responsible for the wing colours and patterns. The size of the different species can range from three millimeters to 30 centimeters for some tropical species. 

Silver Y moth Autographa gamma
Silver Y moth
Koolbladroller cyclamen tortrix
Cyclamen tortrix

Caterpillar damage

Most damaging species in greenhouses belong to the Noctuidae family, but also species from various other families cause damage. Adult moths are nocturnal and are attracted to light. The caterpillars are responsible for the damage to the crop. They are very gluttonous and quickly consume large parts of the plant. Typical is the window feeding during which large leaf parts are consumed. In addition, large caterpillar stages leave a lot of excrements which dirty the crop.  

box tree moth Cydalima perspectalis damaged leaves
Damage by the box tree moth

Common caterpillar species

Carnation tortrix
Box tree moth
Cabbage moth
Beet armyworm
Silver Y moth
Tomato looper
European pepper moth
Bright-line brown-eye

Eikenprocessierups bestrijding
Oak
processionary

Biological control of caterpillars and moths

To control caterpillars and moths several products are available. Usually the egg stage is targeted. Duponchelia eggs can be controlled by the predatory mites MACROMITE or ENTOMITE-M. The nematodes in CAPSANEM control mainly caterpillars of Noctuidae and Duponchelia. The predatory bug Macrolophus (MIRICAL) consumes eggs en small caterpillars of, among others, Tuta absoluta. Finally, the parasitoid TRICHOGRAMMA BRASSICAE  parasitizes butterfly eggs and has a preference for moth eggs. 

To help control the box three moth, a special trap is available. With the BUXATRAP male box three moths are attracted and caught, which will reduce the overall number of caterpillars. 

MIRICAL Macrolophus pygmaeus feeding on Pieris brassicae egg
MIRICAL: a predatory bug that feeds on butterfly eggs

Our products against caterpillars and moths

MACROLOPHUS PYGMAEUS

Effective against
- Whitefly and thrips
- Spider mite
- Tomato looper

Trichogramma brassicae-150x150

TRICHOLINE

Effective against
- Many different caterpillars

DELTAVAL 200x200

DELTA TRAP

Combined with pheromones effective against
- Moths
- True bugs
- Thrips

ENTONEM

Effective against
- Fungus gnats
- Beetle larvae
- Thrips pupae
- Oak processionary

MACRO-MITE

Effective against
- Fungus gnats
- Several thrips
- European pepper moth

BUXATRAP 200x200

BUXATRAP

Effective against
- Box tree moth

BUXATRAP 200x200

FUNNEL TRAP

Combined with pheromones effective against
- Moths
- True bugs
- Thrips

CAPSANEM

Effective against
- Several beetles
- Caterpillars

ENTOMITE-M

Effective against
- Fungus gnats
- Several thrips
- European pepper moth

Lygus pheromone

PHEROMONES

Effective against
- Moths
- True bugs
- Thrips
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