Every year I have problems with cabbage white caterpillars eating holes in my woad. Some years are worse than others. The caterpillars are hard to spot and pick off because they are the exact same color as the leaves, or more precisely, the veins. The butterflies are very pretty, of course, because they are butterflies. I have not been able to get a good photo of a cabbage white butterfly (same problem as my earlier bee post), but click on the link above to see some great ones. And the butterflies don’t do any harm, per se. It’s the caterpillars, or cabbage worms, that are the problem.
Here’s a photo of a particularly small and innocuous-looking one sitting on my woad:
Here is a photo of the pupa, which I’ve never noticed before and was psyched to actually find, photograph, identify, and subsequently squish:
And this is a bean beetle. Bean beetles have wreaked total devastation on our beans more than once at the garden. We grow black beans for drying, or we try to, then we cook and eat them. Mmm black beans…. But do they really like to eat woad? I’m not sure.
Also observed this summer, but not pictured, have been three striped (or three lined) potato beetles, which usually attack our tomatillos, and have the most disgusting larvae ever. They pile their poop up on their backs to ward off predators. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s *poisonous* poop because of the toxic alkaloids in the solanaceous plants they eat. Ew! And slugs. I’ve picked slugs off the woad. Regular old tan-colored small slugs. I don’t know what kind they are exactly.
Many things like to eat woad. I crush them. Or, I fling them into the wild roses and brambles if they are too gross to deal with. Let them eat blackberries.