Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nelson - Attack of the Giant Butterflies

Nelson and the Tasman region is under 'attack' from another pest. After booms in rats and cockroaches there is now an incursion of the pest Great White Cabbage Butterfly. This is a pest that I am familiar with as I come from the UK. It is similar to but larger than the white butterfly that is common in New Zealand and also feeds on brassicas such as cabbages, kale, sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. It is likely to have been brought into NZ as stowaways on goods brought into Port Nelson.

MAF Biosecurity are considering eradication options including aerial spraying but will be going ahead with searching sites and physically destroying pupae. Insecticide sprays are not effective against the pupae but the pupae are likely to begin hatching early next month. The pupae are black, white and yellow, are likely to be found close to host plants on fences and walls. Great white caterpillars are black and white, with yellow stripes, they grow to about 45 mm and tend to be found feeding in clusters. If you suspect you have seen these please contact MAF on 0800 809966.

You can help to eradicate this invasive pest by treating any susceptible plants in your garden with Kiwicare's Organic NO Caterpillars. This totally safe product kills caterpillars of Great White and other pest caterpillars and can be sprayed on food crops and other plants with no withholding period i.e. the food plants can be eaten straight away.

Who do you see if you have butterflies in your stomach?
A gastroentomologist.


  1. Im wondering what the distinguishing marks are that differentiate the Great White from the Cabbage White (to help identification of the butterfly. cheers

  2. Hi Debbie,

    The Giant White looks very like the white butterfly you may be familiar with, but is, as it name suggests, larger. It also has more dark spots on the wings.

  3. what do the giant white butterfly larvae look like?

  4. The Great white butterfly is very similar to the standard white butterfly except, as it's name suggests, it is much larger. You can find more information inthe MAF leaflet on the The Great White Butterfly.



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