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allotments are all caterpillars bad?

While pulling some weeds up I noticed a cluster of orange and black caterpillars on some dandelions fearing that they may transfer onto my brassicas I pulled the weeds out and put them on to the compost heap, on returning home I looked the caterpillars up on google and they look like cinibar moth caterpillars maybe I should have left them alone as long as they don't eat brassicas

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  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,132

    Most caterpillars don't eat brassicas. If they were on dandelions, they eat dandelions so maybe good to have.

    Hard to tell without photo but cinnabar always seem yellow and black to me. and eat ragwort and groundsel

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,054

    Yes they were orange and black alternate stripes I googled the description and they look like the cinnabar moth caterpillars although as you say they are supposed to eat ragwort.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,132

    I've never seen them on dandelions and it's not because I'm short of dandelionsimage

    I don't think they'd go for brassicas though

  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,054

    I've done a bit more googling and I think that the ragwort and dandelion are from the aster family maybe they got confused. On a different note I saw a hummingbird hawk moth in the garden today feeding off the flowers of a privet bush, the privet flowers have been a big draw for all kinds of bees and butterflies for several weeks now but this is the first hummingbird hawk moth that I have ever seen.

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