Biological Control
 (Tyria jacobeae)

When a female Cinnabar moth  (Tyria jacobeae) emerges in the Spring, she brings with her the promise of the destruction of hundreds of ragwort plants and millions of seeds.

The Cinnabar caterpillar is ragworts most voracious predator, consuming first the flowers and nutritious seeds, then moving on to devour the leaves, shoots and even the green stem covering.

Cinnnabar caterpillars in feeding frenzy

In a matter of hours, whole plants can be stripped bare.

Just hours to consume the flowers

Leaving only the skelleton of the plant exposed to disease and decay.  Ragwort plants heavily predated in this manner rarely recover.

Having consumed the plant, the Cinnabar then move off to find a fresh plant to eat and the consumption of flowers, seeds, leaves and shoots repeats and repeats as the caterpillars fatten to maturity.

dead ragwort plant

Cinnabar are highly specific to Ragwort, they do not attack any commercial crop.

The moths locate the ragwort plants, no matter how hard the access.

Caterpillars consume the seeds, then the plant and then move on to attack other plants.

Cinnabar are self replicating and persistent for several seasons.

Cinnabar leave no toxic herbicidal residue and do not attack other valued wild flowers.

Compare these attributes with other forms of control.

Implementing Biological Control

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