The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: Fleecewife on June 12, 2016, 05:51:57 pm

Title: white moths in tunnel ? Now identified !!!
Post by: Fleecewife on June 12, 2016, 05:51:57 pm
Any idea what the myriad small white moths are in my polytunnel?  Definitely not whitefly.  They are about the size of a clothes moth but slightly more delicate, and flutter around up to 18" above the ground.  They are interested in all plants.  I did wonder if they were cabbage root flies, but those are horrid-looking black things.

Even if they are bringing some horrible plague I don't know how to deal with them as they are very agile and never stay still.

I've not seen them in such numbers before.
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 12, 2016, 08:21:10 pm

I've been googling images to see if they are mentioned as pests.  All I can get is white fly and cabbage white butterflies.  Definitely neither of those.

Maybe I'm just in luck and they're nothing damaging  :fc:
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on June 13, 2016, 01:05:55 am
There is something I've heard of (and had on plants) that sound similar. Can't remember what they are called at the moment but I know you catch them by greasing a piece of card and holding above the plant, They fly up in a cloud and stick to it.
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 13, 2016, 08:47:54 am
Those are whitefly MGM, annoying things, but not what I have.  The other thing you catch with a sticky board is those things which eat semi-circular bits from brassica leaf margins, and ping into the air when brushed against.  Great fun - they even have big machines which do that in organic farming  :farmer:
No, these things I'm wondering about flutter around singly and are larger than whitefly, but very much smaller than cabbage white butterflies, about 5-6 mm long, also not so brightly white.  They're like tiny fairies.........
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Scotsdumpy on June 13, 2016, 11:26:47 am
Are they lacewings? - but they are more green with clear (ish) wings. Look like fairies though!!
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 13, 2016, 11:43:38 am
Are they lacewings? - but they are more green with clear (ish) wings. Look like fairies though!!

Lacewings are lovely and , yes, fairy-like, but no, it's not those  :(  These wee things are a bit smaller than lacewings, and their wings are opaque.
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: SallyintNorth on June 13, 2016, 01:00:45 pm
You're giving us lots of wildlife conundrums at the moment, FW - you don't have a nuclear research facility near you, do you?!
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 13, 2016, 01:57:33 pm
No - since the Windscale Channel opened up we've been fine  ;D
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: sabrina on June 13, 2016, 07:43:51 pm
I also have them in my pollytunnel, just a few and no idea on anything about them.
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Mad Goatwoman of Madeley on June 14, 2016, 12:42:18 am
The other thing you catch with a sticky board is those things which eat semi-circular bits from brassica leaf margins, and ping into the air when brushed against.  Great fun - they even have big machines which do that in organic farming  :farmer:



That's the things I was meaning. You hold the board above the plants so when they jump up, they stick.


I don't know what yours can be, unless they really are fairies, in which case, you'd better leave them where they are.  :roflanim:
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 14, 2016, 09:07:40 am
I think they are fairies and I will just let them be.  No-one recognises them as a pest so unless they are some weird mutation (thanks Sallyintnorth  ;D) they shouldn't do any harm.

It's one of the reasons I have a great hatred for those yellow sticky traps folk dot around their greenhouses and tunnels - they catch bees and hoverflies and lacewings and my fairy moths, all to show how many whitefly you have - you can see those just by looking.  Once something is stuck on those sticky  things there's no rescuing them  :rant:  (not the sticky boards you mention MGM which are specific to leaping bugs - they're great  :thumbsup:)
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Q on June 14, 2016, 11:59:17 am
Are they white plume moths - the ones without the full (looking) wings

http://www.meades.org/photos_from_the_garden/white_plume_moth_1.jpg (http://www.meades.org/photos_from_the_garden/white_plume_moth_1.jpg)
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 14, 2016, 05:54:06 pm
Are they white plume moths - the ones without the full (looking) wings

http://www.meades.org/photos_from_the_garden/white_plume_moth_1.jpg (http://www.meades.org/photos_from_the_garden/white_plume_moth_1.jpg)


I was hopeful there, but the white plume moth is described as 24-35mm, but my moths are only 4-5mm.  Mine are also not so brightly white.
Still, good try  ;D
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: waterbuffalofarmer on June 14, 2016, 06:07:52 pm
there could be an abundance, and don't lunge at me here plz as I am not insinuating anything, of greenfly or other insects which have taken a fancy to your plants? I have quite a few in the garden and they seem ok, but having said that don't caterpillars like cabbage? You may even have a rare species ;D
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 14, 2016, 06:16:02 pm
I've just spent ages going through moth ID and I have a horrible thought that my fairies could in fact be devils, the diamondback moth:  http://ukmoths.org.uk/species/plutella-xylostella (http://ukmoths.org.uk/species/plutella-xylostella)  I do hope not as they are apparently great pests of brassica crops.  There has been a sudden explosion of them migrating to Britain.

I'm going to have to consult further, although I don't know the appropriate place to ask.
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: SallyintNorth on June 14, 2016, 06:30:28 pm
BH just came in telling me he'd been hearing about migrant moths attacking brassicas, and I thought of you...

Sounds like others are finding them this year linky (https://www.gwct.org.uk/blogs/peter-thompsons-wildlife-blog/2016/june/keep-an-eye-on-your-brassicas-lots-of-diamond-geezers-about/)

I just asked BH what else he could remember from the news article, and he said they are resistant to all known pesticides  :(

But the croprotect (https://croprotect.com/pests/diamondback-moth) site says
Quote
Although there are insecticide resistance problems in other parts of the world, there is no evidence at present that the moths migrating into the UK each year are highly resistant to the insecticides approved in the UK for diamond-back moth control.

But then, they want to sell their insecticides, of course  :-\
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: in the hills on June 14, 2016, 09:40:14 pm
It didn't give a description of them but heard on the news (radio) today that there was an influx of moths to southern England that was threatening the cauliflower and broccoli crops.

Thought of you FW!
Title: Re: white moths in tunnel ?
Post by: Fleecewife on June 14, 2016, 11:41:56 pm
I think we can say that the moths have now been identified.  Now for remedies.  I never use chemicals in my gardens, so the fact that the usual chemical treatments don't work on the moths doesn't really matter to me.   I need an organic ie non-persistent-chemical, method to use.
I thought I would try wafting a cane with those yellow stick traps I so abhor, or thick grease on cardboard, on the tip.  This should mop up quite a lot of the moths.  They don't like people, but hopefully they won't jump so quickly into the air when it's just a big leaf thing coming for them.  It's worth a try. 
I will already be squashing cabbage whites on the leaves, so if I see any of this type of bug I shall launch into action, and wipe them all out  8)  Hey Ho - my brassicas look so perfect this year too