Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillars vs Bronze Stinkbugs

This is a re-post from five years ago. Situation is still the same. Stink bugs in the lime tree. Orchard Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars also trying to make a living. Only now I also have keen-eyed currawongs living in the backyard (Because i don't have a dog any longer!) which love the odd plump caterpillar.

This morning I had another go at inventing an organic mixture with which to control stink bugs. Unfortunately neither my camera nor my phone would give me back the photos I took.

I have three citrus trees which support a variety of wild life as well as providing me with fruit, in season. I sighted half a dozen orchard swallowtail caterpillars (as portrayed, on cumquat leaf) today, so any kind of spraying is out of the question.

Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar, Nov 2009

Also this spring, an explosion of stink bugs. Dozens of fat, chocolate-brown specimens and dozens more young ones all the shades of green through bright orange and salmon with striped black and white feelers. Quite pretty and I don't mind a couple here and there. They are part of the dance after all.

 A couple of cups of white vinegar in a tall old plastic jug heavily "salted" with chilli powder and swirled around quickly killed most of the ones I managed to flick in there with a long paint brush. Taking them by surprise, I didn't get sprayed. Fifteen minutes later they were dead. The beauty with this kind of mixture is that it and the dead insects can be composted, and so the nutrients recycled.

Any other, better mixtures out there?