A common problem with Cycads is the leaves being eaten. The major cause of this damage in warmer climates is The Blue Cycad Butterfly or Thesclinesthes onycha.
The Butterflies themselves are pretty, and gardeners may like the look of them. However they are a problem, looking more like a large moth than a Butterfly, they can cause a lot of damage unless controlled.
Understanding the life cycle is the key to controlling this problem.
The Blue Cycad Butterfly lay their eggs on the new foliage. It is the caterpillars that then hatch that cause the damage. They do their work for the rest of the year on the old and maturing foliage.
How to prevent Cycad Leaves being Eaten
It is essential to spray the new foliage as soon as it appears. This is when the butterflies are present and lay their eggs.
You can use a number of products, all readily available to control the problem.
For Thesclinesthes onycha control try using.
- Dipel OR
- Yate ULTRA success
- Pyrethrum Spray
Method of Control
Don’t wait for the problem to show through damaged foliage. If theBlue Cycad Butterfly is present you need to spray as soon as any new growth shows.
It is best to spray again after rain.
Spray a third time again as the foliage unfurls.
Remember to spray the underside as well as the top of the foliage.
Try not to spray on very hot days as this can damage the foliage.