I’ve lost the battle with cabbage whites. There comes a time when you just have to stand down and admit defeat. Last week’s burst of hot weather produced so many caterpillars that I could see the plants moving as they set about devouring every last piece of leaf of the kale and broccoli and leaving me with bare stalks.
This isn’t just inside the tunnel either; outside plants have suffered the same fate. Things were so bad in the tunnel that people couldn’t go in without commenting about the smell of rotting plants. This phenomenon came about because of the poo deposits being left by so many caterpillars; it was all dropping on the floor and decomposing.
As I pulled up most of the plants I was getting attacked by the crawling swarm. Well I say attacked, I really mean they were falling down the back of my neck and landing on my arms (I am really itching now just talking about it!). I will save some of the plants that didn’t come off so badly, but the ones in the tunnel are beyond any form of a comeback.
In a moment of panic I went online to see about getting a smoke bomb to fumigate the tunnel. I’ve only ever used these as a youngster when my friends and I would have telephone box crams. After we found out how many of us we could fit inside the box (the record was ten) we would ignite one of the fumigation tablets and hide and laugh as we observed the reactions of passersby.
As an adult, a couple of points come up from me now. Firstly the telephone box could have been needed for people needing the emergency services, and secondly you can bet your bottom dollar that fumigation in the 1970s probably contained DDT or some other lethal chemical.
Ignorance can be bliss, but not in this case I fear.
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