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east yorkshire, United Kingdom Gb

Please can you be on the look out when weeding for wildlife?
Several of us have found an interesting array of wildlife lately.

I was pulling hairy willow-herb out today when I grasped a fleshy, firm, warm finger sized thing. My initial thought was 'what the heck/'. when I looked it was a huge caterpillar of the elephant hawk moth. I had found a pupa several years ago in the back garden and it successfully went on to hatch. that's my little finger to give you some idea of scale. [though I do have quite small hands!]
The are amazing moths and don't do that much damage.



Elephant_hawk_moth Elephant_hawk_moth_to_scale

Answers

 

A pleasant surprise eventually 😄
I recently bought a strimmer. I'm intending to use it carefully as I've planted into the grass but when would be the safest time to use it for a tidy before Winter?

12 Aug, 2019

 

late October but check for frogs/toads and hedgehogs, depending on how tall the grass/planting is. although we have a strimmer it only gets used on hard edges, grass onto concrete but hubby always does an amphibian check.

12 Aug, 2019

 

Ta! It's just that where the grass is long it looks really horrible once it dies back for a couple of months.

12 Aug, 2019

 

Wow, exciting find. Be careful with pulling up the host plant (is it hairy willow herb?). Usually each species is beholden to only a single type of weed as host. That is it's food. Camouflage is often their only defense against predators or to stay hidden under the leaf - so spotting them could be tricky.

12 Aug, 2019

 

I knew it was a host plant from when I found a pupa a few years ago. hairy willow-herb was what I was pulling out , but it is one of those moth species that will feed on several plants. So that is fortunate, Fuchsia is another host plant apparently.
I also have enchanters' nightshade and bedstraws in the garden which are close to the honeysuckle. so all plants for all stages of the lifecycle.

12 Aug, 2019

 

What a fantastic find, they are so spectacular, exotic and hard to find. Hopefully you will have something else for him to eat now you have decimated his food plant. Also - how the heck do you have nails like that and garden??

13 Aug, 2019

 

Lucky find - they are great aren't they. Paul they also like fuchsias. Scarey the way they seem to be looking at you through those imitation eyes!

13 Aug, 2019

 

there are plenty of food plants for them. I stopped pulling the willow herb when I found it. and I have a large area that contains enchanters nightshade

as for the nails honeysuckle they are surprisingly flexible but 2 did ping in half today when I was weeding. so its time to give them all a trim. I am trying to get self sown violets out of the rockery.

13 Aug, 2019

 

Would love to see him as an adult moth.

13 Aug, 2019

 

https://www.growsonyou.com/seaburngirl/blog/30414-elephant-hawk-moth

this shows you the blog I did about the pupa and adult hawk moth. it was a wonderful sight.

13 Aug, 2019

 

I was pleased to find 2 of these caterpillars on my fuchsias.
Talking of other insect life, I haven't managed to mow my areas of grass, (I won't call them lawns!) for a few weeks and now I have found several quite large brown grasshoppers leaping about. I haven't seen a grasshopper for years except on the South Downs. Does this let me off mowing altogether?

14 Aug, 2019

 

I haven't even checked the fuchsia as I have so much willow herb. as for the grass it does in my book 1 1/4d. Victoria didn't cut the grass in her rental house all year and she had several grasshopper species in it. makes you wonder how they find it in a built up area. she is trying to persuade her dad to leave an area unmown. she'll be lucky as it has taken me about 20 yrs to have a small area for a crocus lawn. bless him he chunters very year as he waits the 6-8 weeks for the bulbs to die down.

14 Aug, 2019

 

A mixed blessing having a husband who's keen on mowing!
I'm thinking of letting my green areas grow wild next year except for a neat mowed path all round the edge just to show it is intentional and not neglect!!

14 Aug, 2019

 

that is a very good idea. mown 'paths' to certain areas will also help draw the eye.

14 Aug, 2019

How do I say thanks?

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