Diamondback Moth

Identification and Control

Diamondback Moth and Larvae



The adult diamondback moth is small, grayish-brown moth with fringed hind wings. There is a pattern of white diamonds in a line down itís back, from which it derived it's name. (It is actually a close relative of the Cabbage Worm)

The eggs are round, white and 2-3 times the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Eggs are found in groups of 1- 3 and will most often be located on the underside of leaves adjacent to a large vein.

The larvae are pale green with a black head and sparse black hairs. In contrast to some of the other cabbage worms, the larvae of the diamondback moth will wiggle furiously when picked up. The larvae may be observed hanging by a silken thread. The pupa is approximately one quarter of an inch long, covered with a loose silken cocoon and will frequently be found stuck to the plant.

Adult diamond back moths will feed in small amounts although the damage is so slight that it will often go unnoticed. Control of the Adults will control the arrival of more offspring Praying Mantids are recommended if not used in conjunction with chemicals.

After emerging in early spring they females deposit yellowish-white eggs singly, or in small clusters on foliage of host plants. Larvae hatch within a few days and begin feasting just under the surface of the leaf tissue . After less than a week of feeding, larvae will exit the leaf and feed on the surface. Larvae cease to feed in cooler temperatures.



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Pupae, the stage between worm and moth are greenish and encased in a silky cocoon on leaves or in ground debris. Up to six generations can occur in a single season depending on climatic conditions. As temperatures drop Adults will overwinter in plant debris or the soil.

The most effective treatment readily available to the home gardener is Bacillius thuringiensis. It has proven effective against almost all species of Moth and worm , it is a bacterium / organic pesticide that is readily available to home gardeners. It's harmless to people and pets. Apply it at either bloom or petal fall, or both. Bt It is a stomach poison and must be ingested . It is more effective when applied during warm, dry weather while the larvae are actively feeding. Bt breaks down quickly in nature so multiple treatments per season are necessary.

Spinosad Spinosad insecticide is another biopesticide , correctly termed a microbial pesticide, harmless to humans. Spinosad will interfere with pollinators as well as pests - evening / night time use is advisable. Working Diatomaceous Earth into the soil around host plants will help deter this pest. Applying beneficial nematodes to the soil before planting will also greatly reduce surviving pupae.

Diverse gardens that include a symbiotic mingling of flowers and vegetables are a poor environment for insect pests, but also attract many natural predators. Encourage natural predators such as predatory wasps by mingling varying plants and flowers blooming at different intervals throughout the season.

Try to avoid pesticides, some strains are resistant, but their predators and other beneficial insects such as pollinators are not. Spray with Broad-spectrum insecticides only as a last resort.

Sprays/Pesticides must be applied in the pre-bloom stage to prevent injury. Do not apply insecticides, even bio-pesticides during bloom time to protect vital pollinating insects. Pesticides such as pyrethroids {Pyrethrin} that are more effective in cool than warm weather will work more efficiently against Fruit worms earlier in the season, and is the recommended early season chemical for most types of worms.

Use Broad-spectrum insecticides, such as pyrethin only as a last resort.

Bio Pesticides such as Neem derived products and Spinosad are harmless to pets and humans are advisable. Broad-spectrum insecticides, such as pyrethrin or malathion only as a last resort.

Sprays/Pesticides must be applied in the pre-bloom stage to prevent injury. Pesticides such as pyrethroids that are more effective in cool than warm weather will work more efficiently against worms earlier in the season, and is the recommended early season chemical treatment for most worms and caterpillars.

Sprays/Pesticides must be applied in the pre-bloom stage to prevent injury. Pesticides such as pyrethroids that are more effective in cool than warm weather will work more efficiently against Celery Worms earlier in the season, and is the recommended early season chemical treatment for most worms.

Proper sanitary practices are vital to the health of your garden. Proper sanitation can help to ensure disease-free pest-free and productive gardens. Try to keep the garden free of any diseased dead or damaged plant materials. Remove cuttings from pruning and trimming and either destroy them - if diseased, or send them to the compost pile. Leaving rotting fruits and vegetables in the garden is like a written invitation to unwanted pests and diseases.

If a diseased or dead plant part has to be cut, the microorganism that caused the problem is probably on the tool you just used. Like a surgeon, sterilize all tools by washing in soap and water - rubbing alcohol wouldn't hurt either. If you pinch off diseased plant parts, wash hands before handling any other plants. Keep Weeds under control. Till the soil in the spring before planting to expose and kill larvae that wintered over in the soil.


 

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