Tansy / Biological Control Project
July 14th, 2012
Weed Warrior Photos ~ Tansy Season is here! Tansy is toxic and hard to get rid off once established.
This day flying Cinnabar Moth lays its eggs on the tansy. The eggs hatch into the black and yellow striped caterpillars that eat the leaves and flowers of the tansy plant, controlling its seed population. The caterpillars then pupate, form a cocoon, and under go a transformation changing into a moth, and so the cycle continues. These caterpillars are picky eaters, feeding only on the Tansy Ragwort, Senecio jacobaea, and don't eat other plants, not even the Common Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, a different plant species.
Pictures from July 14, 2012 Newcastle, WA
Weed Warriors collected the Cinnabar moth caterpillars and then removed the toxic tansy plants. The caterpillars we relocated to a large pasture needing help of these "cool bugs." Biological controls, like the cinnabar moth caterpillars, are used when herbicide is not desirable, or manual removal of tansy is prohibitive or too costly.
When this cool caterpillar isn't around, the Weed Warriors go to battle, removing tansy from our trails, parks, and open spaces.