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Re: anti-borer tactics

Carolyn S. asks:

 >> the Monarch butterfly is attracted to Milkweed.  Does anyone know why?
 >>  Might it be the same mechanism -- smell, sight, whatever the little
 >> buggers know that we mere humans don't know.

There was an article in Fine Gardening a few years back about how butterflies
pick out their host plants.  I think I remember it was a color/pattern
recognition thing.  Lots of moths are nocturnal, and not so sensitive to color,
but guided by fragrance and 'light' (white or pale flowers).

But there are really two questions here: What does the iris borer moth eat?
and How does it recognize iris in order to lay its eggs?

If I could tell exactly when the moth emerges and how long it's active, I'd go
for the floating row cover approach suggested earlier on the list (sorry, can't
find message to acknowledge author).  It's not beautiful, but it works with
other crops and is non-chemical.  My 'decoy' planting idea might really have
some effect in combination with row covers over the 'real' irises.  Row covers
are only practical for those of us with small iris plantings, but they'd make
sense for bigger growers to use selectively with specific clumps of pricey new

  Nell Lancaster, Lexington, VA   75500.2521@compuserve.com    USDA zone 6b

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