safe way to put off white butterfly


This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  LeslieD 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #55024


    Any ideas on fooling the white butterfly?

    The last few years as summer has progressed I’ve more or less lost my tomato plants, cucumbers and a lot of other things including sprouting swan plants to green caterpillars … I’m pretty sure they are white butterfly caterpillars but happy to be corrected. I don’t like to use sprays or derris dust and I don’t like killing the caterpillars although the sheer number means they win out everytime.

    I wondered about pyrethrum daisies planted near by but I expect they would be toxic to the likes of bees and butterflies too? I’ve read a few ideas like putting eggshells out to fool the butterfly into laying eggs on those. I did let some brassicas grow up from a bird mix but I see the aphids got them first. The white butterfly population is growing fast along with the rest of the insects at the moment.

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  • #55150


    sorry Caryl my mind is distracted … the swan plants seem mostly safe from the caterpillars but one did scoff some milkweed seedlings (tropical seedlings) last year after it finished with the cucumbers 🙁 . But same applies .. the only nasturtians near my veges are in top garden the rest of veges are separated. cheers



    this nasturtian patch is quite separated from the plants so not the source of these guys. The ‘moth’ or whatever has flown in to the hothouse and laid its eggs. On the deck there are no nearby nasturtians but they have caterpillars too ..BUT I do have a big patch of swan plants in garden up top and they have a lot of different plants including nasturtians around them, I’ll get in and remove the immediate threat later today :). thanks for that.



    Leslie, nasturtium patches are notorious for cabbage whites to lay their eggs on. I put some under my swan plants for ground cover and reaped the consequences of the green caterpillars. I still have some plants there and every day I notice caterpillars have been eating the leaves. I am going to remove the plants. Caryl



    well I found some of the critters on my beans and cucumbers today. Took piks but don’t know how to attach a photo here … anyway they are a green looper caterpillar. google research suggests its a moth larvae. so the battle is on to see who gets my veges this year. I’ve relocated a couple to the nasturtium patch seeing as they eat just about anything :).



    thanks Jacqui … they grow to decent sized green caterpillars and are prolific, they eat anything … they totally strip the vegetables. Derris dust is toxic to bees.



    Cabbage white butterflies are only interested in brassicas so won’t affect tomatoes, cucumbers or swan plants.

    There is a cute little moth which eats the flowers of swan plants. Search here for “looper+swan plant” and it will come up in the results.

    Besides that and monarch caterpillars, slugs and snails I can’t think of anything else which is partial to swan plants.

    Don’t think pyrethrum is toxic… but its strong smell might deter some species. Not sure.

    We had some great tips about how to live in harmony with brassicas and the cabbage white butterfly in a magazine once… and I think the same info. is repeated in our calendar. I’ll see if I can find it for you, Leslie.

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