Biological control of Caterpillars

Topics and information related to the making of honey - a traditional folkloristic agribusinessl practiced in Malta for many centuries. (Malta = Melita = Honey)

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Biological control of Caterpillars

Post by MWP admin » Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:44 pm

This post is a bit out of topic from real Honey making" but it regards wasps.

The following are my recent discoveries or observations in Biology...

1) The White Cabbage butterfly has a craze to lay its eggs on Tropuleum majus. The resulting larvae enjoy feeding on the large soft leaves of this plant -
Link to plant photo

2) A parasite of the White cabbage caterpillar

We have this plant in our front garden, and as a biologist I left the caterpillars feeding on the plant. Actually I was going to remove the oldening plant to make space.

To my surprise I have seen nature-in-action when a paper wasp hijacked the caterpillar (about 1cm below its head) and started nibling the body. The caterpillar eventually fell to the ground with the wasp eating several parts of the crawling creature. In my oppinion the wasp was feeding on the body fluids of the larvae.

When finished the wasp looked like to be drunk or poisoned by the 'meal' as it did not fly after disturbing her, but after 10mins of lick-cleaning her body, it went off back to flight.

I know some caterpillars have wasps as their main prey, but I did not know specifically that the paper wasp attacked the white cabbage butterfly larvae.
Photo 1
WaspCaterpillar1.jpg (197.82KiB)Viewed 19310 times
Photo 2
WaspCaterpillar2.jpg (101.88KiB)Viewed 19310 times
Photo 3
WaspCaterpillar3.jpg (121.37KiB)Viewed 19310 times
Stephen Mifsud

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Joined:Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:50 pm
Location:Zabbar Malta

Post by michaelb » Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:39 pm

From some information I've got the paper wasp altough it does alot of damage on fruit trees especially in vines, it does alot of beneficials by eating alot of insects and caterpillars, like these photos show
Michael Buhagiar

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