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I have a Honeysuckle in a container on my patio which produces masses of buds . Every year, without fail, the the buds are systematically, plucked out, leaving only perhaps 15% to mature into flower. After many years of research, trying to find the cause of the destruction I recently heard a snip on the Radio 4 naming the 20 plume moth as the predato !.
Since planting this shrub 20 years ago, I have never been lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful fragrance from it's flowers, and it has been so disappointing to see all the buds disappearing every Spring. Also, I am really surprised that none of the professional gardeners whom I have approached about this problem have been able to identify the cause of the desecration of the plant?

Is there anyone, who can please tell me how to protect the shrub from the moths, something that would be non-toxic for birds please.

Thank you for any advice on this problem.

On plant Lonicera



Here is a link to an American website that says the larvae roll up the leaves and bore in to the stems of the plant. It is not the adult moth that causes th damage.

I would think it will be easier to get rid of the larvae than it would be to get rid of moths. If the plant is still in its pot you might be able to just pick off any you can see.

27 Jul, 2013


Alucita hexadactyla - the caterpillars of which are leaf miners on honeysuckle, tunnelling into the leaf to escape/be protected from predators.
Can only suggest a systemic insecticide, something like Provado (but other products are available!), perhaps applied as a soil drench once in spring and once in mid-summer. That wouldn't harm visiting insects, wouldn't bother the birds, but would sort out any insect feeding on the plant.

27 Jul, 2013


SCOTSGRAN: Thank you for this. I never see ANY evidence to identify the predator, larvae included. I am now wondering if the rolling of the leaves then result in them yellowing, quickly turning brown and drying out, because that is what is happening now? I will check out the link you have kindly sent to me, I need to know more about what I am dealing with here.

WORTHY1: Thank you also, for this suggestion. Now I know more about the problem, I will look for a systemic insecticide, and hope for sweet fragrant flowers next Spring :-).

I am grateful to you both for your guidance.

27 Jul, 2013


We'll look forward to seeing the end result and I'm sure there will be others who have the same problem if it is getting a mention on the radio. We can learn a lot from the problems highlighted by our fellow members. Thank you for posting the question.

28 Jul, 2013


The snip on Radio 4 was included in "A guide to garden wildlife" - "Hedges" which went out last Monday and can still be accessed today 29th July on their "Listen again" option, which may be of interest to members :-)

I didn't smile when I heard the remarks about how beautiful the Twenty Plume moth is and how it can be observed on the Lonicera by illuminating the shrub after dark!! To think that these little *beasts* have been devouring my precious honeysuckle flowers for the past 20 years, is beyond forgiveness and I shall research the best systemic insecticide in the hope of preserving those heavenly scented blooms.

I will certainly keep you posted and look forward to any further comments about this issue, from members of this valuable site.

Thank you once more.

29 Jul, 2013


I have just looked at the photo of the Plume moth on the iplayer. It actually says its grubs bore in to the flower bud. You can look forward to some flowers later in the year if you can get the systemic insecticide on now. The moth is certainly unusual and very beautiful.

29 Jul, 2013


Oh thank you! So it might flower again later? OK I will pick-up some systemic insecticide tomorrow and give it a drench.

Grateful for your further help.

30 Jul, 2013

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