The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

June 19, 2008

Watch Out for Cabbage Worms

Filed under: Uncategorized — bob @ 6:04 am

I was out in the vegetable garden the other day and noticed that none of our Broccoli or other cabbage-type plants have any insect damage at all.

Apparently the weather conditions have not been very good for the Cabbage Looper or other cabbage pests which is very good news for the Broccoli plants.

I did happen to spot the first Cabbage butterfly in our garden on Tuesday. This is the culprit that lays the eggs that develops into those destructive cabbage worms.

Cabbage Butterfly

She and her sisters were not on the Broccoli just yet. I caught them feeding on nectar from our Salvia flowers. Here she alighted on a Hydrangea leaf just long enough for me to get this long distance snapshot.

Notice the distinguishing characteristics: all white with a dark spot on each wing. You often see them in small groups fluttering about in the garden.

If you see them landing on your cabbage and related plants, I guarantee that eggs are being laid and those destructive worms will start munching on your plants real soon.

You can deal with these insects in a couple of non-chemical ways. First you can cover your plants with a thin garden cloth called “floating row covers”, this will keep the butterflies from even reaching your plants in the first place, so no eggs will be laid on the leaves.  The other way is to spray the plants with a biological based material called BT.  BT will not kill the butterflies, but will kill the worms as they begin to feed.  Check at the garden centers for these products.

So…heads up.


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