Below is a wholes series of tips to find moths on Ragwort. This was given out by Ian Smith some years back on Uk Micromoths. Most of the links will no longer work but all can be found on Ian Kimbers UK Moths website, just type in the B&F number given in the link to Ians search engine. PS Charly, I expect some cracking shots of all the goodies you find to stick in my Ragwort File !
In response to your request for more tips I decided to expand on what you may find on ragwort this month. Most of the larvae feed on the flowers/seeds. Some are foliage feeders, but you are likely to get either when you beat.The exceptions are the rootstock/lower stem feeders. For these you will need to uproot plants, and, if occupied, pot them up outside over winter.I don't think anyone will object to the removal of ragwort plants, but could I suggest that lifted plants are not left where stock can reach them. I think farm animals have the sense to avoid living plants, but wilted plants might not have the same warning signs. Accidental inclusion in hay is probably the main danger. Virtually all the micros listed overwinter as diapausing larvae, so essential to keep outdoors in well drained conditions. Many of the macros overwinter as pupae, but outdoors also best. 998postvittana will probably pupate & emerge indoors in airtight container to prevent drying.Below are links to micros that feed on ragwort in September. Where the link is to images in my file 'ifs' on ukmicromoths, you should copy them if you wish (just for own use -I retain copyright) as I will eventually remove them in late October. I have included polyphages I have found on ragwort, but there may be more.964 rootstock/stemhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag964.jpg966rootstock/lower stemhttp://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2936985http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3559http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag985.jpg986http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag986.jpg998http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=19151187rootstockhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1187.jpg1197http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1197.jpghttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1197b.jpg1377http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1377.jpg1480http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1480.jpg1484http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=24621485http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmicromoths/files/ifs/rag1485.jpg1520http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=32741521H. osteodactylus(1520) is apparently replaced in SE England (Kent, Sussex, Surrey according to Eric Bradford, but perhaps Colin Hart can update us?) by H. chrysocomae(1521). I have no picture. Colin told me that as far as he knows its head is light brown, while on osteodactylus it is black or dark brown. As head colour of larvae often lightens or darkens with development, I'd be cautious about relying on it alone.I hope anyone who gets Hellinsia larvae in the SE will photograph and rear it (outdoors) - I'll be delighted to receive and photograph larvae sent to me from Kent, Sussex or Surrey. It's also reported off Solidago virgaurea and Aster (?Sea aster?).952 I have no illustration of 952Commophila aenana. Rootstock feeder. Winters about 8cm up stem which snaps off above the larva by spring. Heavy clay soils from Lincoln southwards. Scarce. BTS describes: Head brown;prothoracic plate pale yellow; abdomen yellowish or greyish white; pinacula shining greyish white; spiracles blackish brown peritreme; anal plate greyish white marked yellow.Below are Bradley numbers of macromoths which you may beat off ragwort. All are in Porter, but beware of variability of the pugs; some spp have 20 or so varieties illustrated in Buckler, with certain forms resembling those of other species.I think many need to be reared.17201728http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=27801825http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=25321830, 1833, 1834, 1837, 1839, 18401851http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2573I think Eupethicia virgaureata can be recognised by the stylised wave patterns on its sides.2136,2305http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1474