Geranium butterfly: prevention and remedies

Geranium butterfly: prevention and remedies

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It's time for geraniums and when spring awakens we all want to celebrate the mild temperatures and sunny days by filling balconies and gardens with many geranium plants. However, the enemies of these flowers are also awakening in these times, and are more aggressive than ever to challenge their beauty. There geranium butterfly it is one of them, one of the most widespread and that hardly misses the appointment when the weather becomes more pleasant, we can wait for it at the gates and fight it as we can or even prevent its arrival. They begin to know it well to know how to move to defend the beauty of our balconies which they can then be proud of.

Geranium butterfly: origins and characteristics

Known to those who usually grow these flowers, the geranium butterfly in the scientific world bears the name of Cacyreus marshalli but can also be commonly called Licena del Geranio. Beyond the term used to indicate it, it is a stubborn and treacherous enemy that we absolutely must not ignore if we want to be sure that our flowers are not destroyed by its voracity.

Its origins are not European, this insect arrived in Europe not too long ago from the African continent where it was born. Thanks or due to globalization, being all more connected and connected and all lovers of beautiful flowers, we have started to import some original varieties of South Africa and Spain. It was perhaps an imprudent move because we also imported with them the geranium butterfly that has now installed itself in our area and does not seem to want to leave, also because it certainly does not lack food with all the flowers that are grown on the balconies and in the Italian gardens.

Almost absurdly, this insect is much more dangerous in our part than in its lands of origin because in Italy the contrast is not easy to activate while In Africa there are insects and animals that see succulent food in the butterfly and do not let it escape. It is up to us, however, if we live in Europe, to defend ourselves from its attacks without being able to rely too much on natural allies.

There licena del Geranio it is a real butterfly but not of the colorful ones that children draw in their notebooks, it has gray or at most light brown wings, about 3 centimeters long and with small but precise lighter streaks, cream colored when they are adults. When they are still in the form of a larva, they are green and about 1 centimeter long. There are many other similar butterflies and they are not all greedy for geraniums, to recognize the one we want to fight we must check that there is its typical "tail".

Geranium butterfly: emptied geraniums

Anyone who has had the good fortune to get to know this arch enemy of geraniums knows why we talk about emptied geraniums. When the insect attacks a plant, at times it leaves dark spots on the petals but most of the time it makes huge holes on the leaves, when it is a larva, to feed. This makes us understand how the real danger for our geraniums are the larvae of this insect which, when adult, is no longer a great enemy.

Geranium butterfly: prevention

To prevent the attacks of the hungry larvae of this insect, it is essential to learn how to prevent their birth and therefore to prevent the adult butterfly, now harmless in itself for our plant, spawns in its vicinity. If we see a flutter tiny butterfly between gray and brown, we are on the alert and check that he has not chosen the pot of our geraniums as a place to give birth to his offspring. To recognize the eggs we take into account that they are tiny dots, usually very light in color, which can vary from white to yellow, with a diameter of one millimeter and therefore really difficult to notice.

During late spring, therefore in the month of May, the larvae emerge from the eggs and start looking for food to feed themselves, grow and become butterflies. A few days are enough a about 20 ° C or more so that the eggs hatch and our geraniums begin to be their prey.

Let's see how these larvae behave. They usually move between the stems and when they are large, they come out and make holes in the internodes taking on a different appearance. They start to be large and green in color with lilac stripes, just with colors that are hard to notice if you are looking a flower pot in bloom. When this happens, the endogenous larva begins to be exogenous and to eat I don't say everything it finds but almost given its voracity. It is especially greedy for leaves.

When these larvae come in pupal stage, they then become butterflies that, when they are adult, produce eggs, starting the cycle again. The reproduction rate of these butterflies is quite high, they can even give life to 5 generations in just one year, a real army attacking our flowers.

How to get rid of the geranium butterfly

For the moment, i do not live in Europe natural enemies of these butterflies that instead in Africa they manage to limit their presence, so we have to make do with other means. Specifically with products for ornamental plants.

There is no doubt among the most recommended the systemic insecticide which manages to penetrate and spread inside the plant and protects it for a month, also defending the new part of vegetation that has sprung up after treatment from enemies.

It should be noted that this type of product does not damages the plant but only the larvae. We can start applying it once a month from early spring without waiting for the temperature to reach 20 ° C. It is an excellent strategy in order not to leave the butterfly free to give birth too much and find ourselves in a situation of great alarm. If the product applied for a month gives good results, we can continue with the treatment by increasing the frequency if the infestation is manifest.

To delete the geranium butterfly I point out a specific insecticide, Polysect ultra in packs of 800 ml that you find for sale on Amazon on this page. It could be the winning product to defend the beauty of your balcony.

Butterfly resistant geraniums

If we cannot fight the butterfly with our weapons, we can surrender to taking varieties of geranium that have proven themselves over time resistant to its attacks. So far these are the best known and easiest to find: Abrotanifolium, Denticulatum, Filicifolium, Grandiflorum or Odoratissimum.

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Video: Butterflies and how you can help them (May 2022).