I’ve been gardening for a while now so I have encountered quite a few garden pests. I’ve had to deal with aphids on the roses and cabbage white butterfly attacking my broccoli. Usually it is possible to have a close look at the plants to see what is doing the damage. That hasn’t been the case for our Dutch iris this year; they were being eaten by something that we couldn’t find! A similar thing happened last year that spoilt the flowers and it is very annoying!
Last year we found that there were brown caterpillars living in some of the garden tie that we were using. We killed off the caterpillars but the irises still didn’t flower properly! We haven’t used that same stretchy fabric tie near our irises this year but our irises were still being eaten! We also saw that the leaves of the hippeastrums were being eaten by some unknown garden pests.
I couple of weeks ago I decided to check the plants after dark to see if I could see anything eating them. It was definitely worth going out in the cold to have a look because I found several brown caterpillars munching away! I was able to pick them off and squash them and I have been checking the irises and hippeastrum leaves every night since. For the first few nights I was able to find five or six caterpillars each night. Now I think that I have got them under control because most nights I don’t find any!
I cannot be absolutely certain but I think that these brown caterpillars are cutworms. My understanding is that cutworm is a generalised term for any larvae of a moth. They live in the soil and then come out at night to feed. They are known to chew through and ‘cut’ plants off near to the ground. While our plants were not cut off at the ground, they definitely look like some of the leaves have been cut off. The damage looks the same as the damage done by cutworms show here in this link.
If you would like to know more about cutworms check out the following links:
I would highly recommend checking your plants at night if they are suffering from pest damage. You never know what garden pests you might find!
I am hoping that our Dutch irises will flower properly this year now that we have removed the pests.