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Geranium Plume Moth

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Geranium Plume Moth

Bats are mammals, and members of the order Chiroptera. They are the second largest order of mammals in number of species. There are about 1000 species of bats, 14 of which live in Missouri. Of these, 9 are commonly found in caves.

Geranium Plume Moth

Geranium Plume Moth

The wings of plume moths are lobed and fringed with long setae. The forewings are bilobed, the lobes starting 2/3 from the wing base. The hindwings have three lobes. These moths hold their wings out horizontally forming a sort of T shape or obliquely. The moths move the wings up and down erratically. Plume moths have slender bodies and legs. They are white or brownish with a wingspan from 15 to 25 mm. The members of this genus are very closely related, and it is often difficult to determine which species is involved by adult specimens.

Pelargoniums are woody or shrubby perennial plants and attract hummingbirds. Don't confuse these with true geraniums, often called cranesbills, in the Geranium genus, which have 5 equal-sized petals in contrast to the Pelargonium. Pelargoniums produce symmetrical flowers, often in clusters but also singly. Flowers generally bloom in spring through fall. Colors include white, pink, red, coral, and purple and may have distinct markings or blotches. Leaves are roundish with wavy or lobed edges. Depending on species, leaves may have a yellow margin or other markings.

Life cycle:There are more than 40 species of plume moths of the genus Platyptilia occurring in the United States. Two of the economically important members of this genus are the geranium plume moth and the snapdragon plume moth. Eggs are deposited singly any place on the plants, but are usually laid on newly forming flowers or on the underside of leaves of terminal young growth. Hatching occurs in 2 to 3 weeks. Young larvae mine in leaves and later burrow into the stem, petioles, flowers, or seed pods. It takes 3 to 5 weeks for the larvae to develop through four instars.

Damage:The caterpillars emerge to form pupae that hang upside down on the plant. The adults are weak fliers and usually remain on or near the host plant. The moths are most active during the early evening. If hibernation is necessary, it is the adult stage that overwinters; however, the plume moths are not well adapted for hibernation or aestivation.

Geranium Plume Moth

Geranium Plume Moth

Control:Geranium cuttings should be inspected upon arrival for plume moth caterpillars. A pyrethroid dip with a labeled pesticide should give adequate control of plume Moth caterpillars without damaging the cuttings or affecting rooting percentage. For specific rates and chemical control recommendations, see the current Cooperative Extension publications on ornamental plant pest management.

Types of Geranium:Zonal or common bedding geraniums (Pelargonium hortorum):These are the best and most commonly used geraniums for general decorative purposes, either in garden beds or in containers. They bloom continuously from spring through fall in gardens in the Midwest.This group includes plants with various flower forms and colors as well as distinct leaf sizes, shapes, colors, and markings.

Ivy-leaved geraniums {Pelargonium peltatum): are characterized by their trailing or vinelike growth habits. They are commonly grown in hanging baskets, window boxes, or similar containers for elevated culture. Usually the flowers of these geraniums are not as brilliant or conspicuous as those of the zonal or common bedding types, and the plants are used mainly for their trailing growth and shiny, attractive leaves.

Lady Washington or show geraniums {Pelargonium domesticurn): are not recommended for midwestern gardens because they stop flowering during the heat of summer. They are more suitable for the cooler areas of the country. The flowers are characteristically multicolored,in some cases resembling pansies. Geraniums in this showy class are often offered by florists as gift plants during the spring months.

Scented-leaved geraniums: These include many species and hybrids grown mainly for their varied fragrances and the exotic shapes of their leaves. The flowers of this class of geraniums are normally rather inconspicuous. There are over 200 varieties in cultivation,with lemon, rose, cinnamon, apple, orange, walnut, nutmeg, and many other scents. Some are used as house plants; others are used as culinary herbs.

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