How to trick a white butterfly and save your garden

White butterfly numbers have exploded in the warm, moist summer.

White butterfly numbers have exploded in the warm, moist summer.

A champion tomato grower has a surprising solution to the white butterfly scourge.

Simply cut out butterfly shapes from old white ice-cream containers, affix them to a stick, and Bob's your uncle.

For extra authenticity, add a black line down the middle and a few spots on the wings.

Vegetables devastated by white butterfly caterpillars.
DAVE CRAIG

Vegetables devastated by white butterfly caterpillars.

"White butterflies are very territorial," says keen gardener Jeff Reardon of Kaikoura.

READ MORE:
Driving through an explosion of white butterflies
* Weather to blame for white butterfly explosion

"We have done this in our garden and can't believe it works as well as it does.

Jeff Reardon has grown this whopper tomato, which weighs 850g, in his garden in Kaikoura.
EMMA DANGERFIELD/FAIRFAX NZ

Jeff Reardon has grown this whopper tomato, which weighs 850g, in his garden in Kaikoura.

"Butterflies come over the fence from next door and as soon as they see the plastic ones they are off again."

A threefold increase in the population of small white butterflies may have been caused by the weather, according to Wildland Consultants senior ecologist Brian Patrick.

The moist conditions through November, December and January allowed more growth of the larvae host plants, he said.

The butterflies are considered a pest in New Zealand, having been introduced from Hawaii in 1930 in a shipment of cabbage to Napier.

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Reardon's skills in the garden are evidenced by a giant 850 gram tomato, which he intends to turn into relish, along with the rest of his crop.

According to the Guinness World Records, the heaviest tomato weighed in at 3.814kg and was grown by Dan MacCoy of the United States. 

It was weighed in Ely, Minnesota, USA, on August 22, 2014.

* How do you deal with white butterflies in your garden? Share your tips in the comments below.

 

 

 

 - Kaikoura Star

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