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 butterfliescan 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.

Caterpillar damage

Most damaging species in greenhouses belong to the Noctuidaefamily, 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.