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Any caterpillar identification boffins around, anyone know what these are?

(45 Posts)
Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 11:31:57

Black and yellow caterpillar with slightly hairy body, there is about a million of them on my broccoli?

Im just wondering whether to keep a few for a butterfly project.


Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 12:13:39

here is a picture of one the same

SaintGeorge Mon 25-Aug-08 12:18:18

Looks like a cabbage white to me.

zephyrcat Mon 25-Aug-08 12:19:46

Is JanH still around? She has helped me and dd loads with this kind of thing!

Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 21:15:28

Thanks. Anyone else agree with Saintgeorge?

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 21:36:35

I am a caterpillar identification boffin blush. I was caterpillar-mad as a kid and kept all sorts.

It is a large white.

They make good pets and are easy to keep. If you want to keep them off your broccoli next year plant nasturtiums nearby - they love them. Anything else you want to know about them? <nerd alert>

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 21:40:21

How big are they atm?

cadelaide Mon 25-Aug-08 21:42:25

I think if you "adopt" them now you will have to overwinter a chrysalis, or lots of them (what's the plural? chrysalids?).

I couldn't bear the responsibilty tbh. We did nuture some a few weeks ago and woke up to find beaoooootiful butterflies.


TooTicky Mon 25-Aug-08 21:43:47

Ah! Ds1 has 5 of these in a jar - he found them on the nasturtiums. Two of them are cocooning and the others look as if they are about to start smile

TooTicky Mon 25-Aug-08 21:44:25


BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 21:50:56

It's hard to say if you have the first or second brood there. Because of the awful weather this year the broods are all mixed up but I think you have a first brood.

1st brood pupates late july / early august and emerges 2 weeks later.

2nd brood hatches late august / early september and pupates in october - it overwinters and emerges in the spring. You can successfully keep an overwintering pupae in a shed or outhouse but check it regularly.

cadelaide Mon 25-Aug-08 21:52:24

"You can successfully keep an overwintering pupae in a shed or outhouse but check it regularly".

See? Such being pregnant all over again.

Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 22:05:36

ooh thanks. There are some quite bigs ones and some teeny ones all on the same broccoli.
There were roughly about 50 altogether.

My DS has 5 of them plus 2 all green ones? (do you know what they are too?) in a jar with breathing holes and broccoli leaves.
What do we do with them now?

The others I have picked off and put at the other end of the garden. (was this the right thing to do?)

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 22:05:44


TooTicky Mon 25-Aug-08 22:16:37

How long do they generally stay cocooned?

MarmadukeScarlet Mon 25-Aug-08 22:19:18

My moth pupae hatched after about 3 weeks but my Cinnibar moths will not emerge until next year - so depends on type.

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 22:20:29

The two all green ones are likely to be the small white. They have 2-3 broods per year. I think this year you will find both the 2nd and 3rd broods overwinter and you could have either.

I used to keep mine in a plastic tank (like you can buy in pet shops with a mesh lid) or an old fish tank with a muslin tightly secured over the top. You have to watch out for condensation in a small jar. They don't need lots of air so you don't need huge breathing holes. I used to place kitchen roll at the bottom of the tank / jar to absorb any moisture and to make it eaaier to clean them out. You need to make sure the broccoli leaves are fresh enough for them to eat (both types also eat nasturtium, mignonette and other cabbage plants). They don't need any water. They are awkward little fellows and tend to pupate where the lid joins the jar.

If the jar smells a bit funny then that will be the large whites - they give of a funny smell (only to be expected if all you eat is cabbage plants I guess grin)

The others you moved may have found some new food.

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 22:22:48


1st brood pupates late july / early august and emerges 2 weeks later.

2nd brood hatches late august / early september and pupates in october - it overwinters and emerges in the spring. You can successfully keep an overwintering pupae in a shed or outhouse but check it regularly.

They will emerge early if they are kept too warm so best to keep them at a similar temperature to outside (hence the shed/ garage/ outhouse for later broods)

LittlePushka Mon 25-Aug-08 22:24:55

DS just learned the word today ,...but says capitiller.

Way too cute to be corrected.

So I think they are large white capitillers!wink

Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 22:35:56

Wow! BBM you really know your stuff dont you. How do you know about all this?
My mum has an old fish tank so I will get that from her and transfer them.

There are some nasturtium at the bottom of the garden so hopefully they might find them.
I felt a bit bad picking them up and moving them, but I have put a lot of effort into growing the veggies this year grin

blithedance Mon 25-Aug-08 22:39:01

Squash the B**gers. I left some to grow on my broccoli, as interesting for the DS's to see them grown, the next time I looked, I had about 10,000 caterpillars and no broccoli. Have chucked the bare stems in the compost bin sad

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 22:45:27

Just watch your lid for the fish tank - they can escape through tiny holes.

When I was little I was absolutely caterpillar mad. Spent all day hunting them out in the garden - my mum wasn't allowed to kill any so when she was gardening she'd call me out and get me to move them before she squashed them angry. We had a rule where she was allowed to squash their eggs before they hatched - cue me stalking all the butterflies in the garden and picking off all the leaves that they laid eggs on before she found them.

I had loads of them and I think we had more butterflies in our garden than anyone else. I know what I've typed here because we have some in our garden this year and I'm teaching the DDs.

this one was my favourite ever caterpillar - he used to crawl over my desk while I was doing my homework. I think he was the most pampered caterpillar ever grin

Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 22:47:03

I know Blithedance, there are quite a few stripped stems and some have had a go at the first ever cauliflowers I have ever grown.
The DC's were torn between fresh broccoli that they snap off and eat whilst playing in the garden or to let the caterpillars eat it.

BigBadMousey Mon 25-Aug-08 22:49:01

<rushes to blithedance's garden to rescue poor, helpless capitillers>

Tidgypuds Mon 25-Aug-08 22:51:36

That is a brilliant caterpillar.
So is it safe for the DCs to pick up the caterpillars we have?
I was hesitant as they are a bit hairy and I was told that the hairs on some caterpillars can cause irritation?

We have a buddleja plant which I have bought recently because my DD is obsessed with butterflies and this attracts some lovely butterflies.

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