Tuesday, 22 August 2017

La pyrale du buis

There has been plenty of correspondence abut the "box caterpillar", known as la pyrale du buis in French. The moth has infected box bushes and trees in over 50 departments and has devastated many local gardens.
One expert has reported that thousands of the moths are currently to be seen, though they represent no danger at this stage in their life cycle - apart presumably from laying eggs for the next generation of caterpillars. Their life cycle is only 50 days, of which only one week is as a moth, but 5 weeks as a ferocious caterpillar attacking their favourite food. There seem to be few solutions: dig up the plants; spray the bushes with insecticide or examine every plant every day and pick of the offending beasts.
Apparently wasps will attack the caterpillars and birds and bats take the moths.
This lady in Castelnau Monratier (Lot) has tried them all and has a locust like plague to worry about and as each female can travel hundreds of metres per day and lay 500 - 800 eggs there should be plenty over the next few weeks until winter sets in.
Moths everywhere in the Lot. Photo France 3 TV