Spilosoma virginica (Virginian tiger moth)

Spilosoma virginica Spilosoma virginica        Family: Erebidae
(SPIL-oh-so-mah  ver-GIN-eh-kah)
Family: Erebidae          Subfamily: Arctiidae

Common name: Virginian tiger moth; yellow woolly bear
Host plants: range of low-growing, herbaceous plants
Adult size: wingspan  0.75 – 1.0 in (19 – 25 mm)
Flight time: May through August

Type: Pest

Life cycle:
          Generations per year: 2 – 3
          Egg: unknown
          Larva: unknown
          Pupa: unknown
          Adult: unknown

Spilosoma virginica - wing markingDescription: A medium-sized moth with white head, thorax, and wings. The forewing has two black dots; the hindwing has several black dots, mostly located in a row in the marginal area. Anterior legs are marked with yellow and black; remaining legs are white and black. The white abdomen is characteristically marked with yellow-orange and black dots arranged symmetrically.

Larva is woolly-looking, covered densely with long yellow and white hairs.

Adult moths begin to appear in late spring…typically May. After mating, females will lay 20 – 100 eggs grouped in a single layer on the underside of a leaf. When larvae hatch, they stay together for a short period, feeding, and then disperse singly to other plants. Larvae defoliate host plants by skeletonizing its leaves but usually does not harm the plant too severely. Most larval damage occurs in the last generation as fall approaches. This generation will overwinter in the pupa stage. There are two to three generations per year.


Special Notes: Native throughout the temperate regions of North America. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is generally found at low elevations from the northern parts of central British Columbia to central California.


Remedial Actions: None needed. Not a serious pest.


Posted on June 14, 2018


Garden Tip: Deadheading sticky rhodo blossoms

by Leslie Cox; Monday; June 11, 2018

Rhododendron 'Anna Rose Whiney'Deadheading a rhododendron can be quite a chore at the best of times…especially if it is a tall one like our beautiful ‘Anna Rose Whitney’. And we have two of those!

Not only is ‘Anna Rose Whitney’ very tall, but the spent blossoms are very sticky. So sticky, they cling to your gloves, or bare hands if you prefer to deadhead without gloves.

One solution we have found is to don a pair of disposable gloves and slather our fingertips with Vaseline. Works like a dream…the spent blossoms don’t stick at all. However, there is one caveat…you have to keep re-applying more Vaseline.

There is a second solution which I have just recently discovered…deadhead the sticky rhodo blossoms on a rainy day. Preferably after it has been raining for a while and the shrub is thoroughly wet.

I usually stick to inside chores on big rain days in consideration for my arthritis. However, I was falling behind on garden chores so suited up into rain gear and ventured out to tackle some deadheading on the rhodos. I started with a non-sticky rhodo and then moved on to ‘Anna Rose Whitney’ right next to it…without switching to disposable gloves and Vaseline. What a pleasant surprise to find the spent blossoms were not clinging to my garden gloves! (If I could ignore the soaking I was getting from the rain, that is!) Seems wet gloves, as yucky as they are to wear, work every bit as well as Vaseline!

Happy deadheading on those rhodos!

Homemade Aphid Spray Recipe

elder aphids, some winged & antsAphids are the very devil to get rid of. It is especially tough when your young seedlings are infested. Due diligence is the key…daily checks to ensure all seedlings are healthy…because a few aphids on a plant are a whole lot easier to deal with than a horde. And it never hurts to keep a close watch on your garden plants for any possible aphid damage…especially plants like roses and vegetables like cabbages and other brassicas.

The recipe:

1 quart (1 L) water
1 tbsp (15 ml) organic dish soap*
1 tsp (5 ml) cooking oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle.
Shake well and spray infested plant every day to kill all aphids.

*Note: I always buy EcoMax which is an organic brand of dish soap, but that is just my preference. Bottom line: We are on septic so I am very careful about what goes down our drains. You can find this product and other organic brands of dish soap in the organic section of your supermarket.


Posted on May 5, 2018

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