Cabbage worms are the same pest as imported cabbageworms. The mature butterflies are sometimes known as “little whites” or “cabbage whites. The Latin name is Artogeia or Pieris rapae.
This is a typical pest for vegetables from the cabbage family, including kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. If you notice a hole in a leaf, do not be excessively alarmed; plants may tolerate significant leaf loss without suffering any negative effects. True harm to a plant’s growth and yield occurs during seedling establishment or the early stages of head development.
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The larvae of cabbage worms are velvety green. There are a few little golden stripes on them. They should not be confused with yellow-green caterpillars known as cabbage loopers. Because they lack middle legs, cabbage loopers move by raising and lowering their bodies, unlike cabbageworms.
Cabbage worms develop into butterflies called cabbage whites, which are primarily white with some black patterns. Although cabbage white butterflies may appear to be a charming addition to the garden, they are most likely depositing their eggs on the undersides of leaves.
The diamondback moth and zebra caterpillar eggs and larvae may be found in the same places as cabbage worms and cabbage loopers. These insects have superb concealment, so you frequently spot the frass—or fecal matter—that they leave behind before you spot them.
Cabbage Worm Injury
Cabbage worms may comfortably consume the bases of broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage without drawing attention to themselves. They consume the leaves, and eventually can only leave the plant with stalks and noticeable veins. Cabbage worms may completely destroy your crops if left unchecked. Additionally, the vegetables may become stained or contaminated by their waste.
What Repels Cabbage Worms
You may adopt a variety of natural measures and risk-free therapies to repel cabbage worms.
- Plant barriers. Cabbage worms are reported to be avoided by rosemary, tomatoes, onions, sage, borage, nasturtium, and tomatoes.
- Bring in insect predators. Grow herbs and floral plants to draw predators from the neighborhood. You can attract other insects, such as wasps, yellow jackets, ground beetles, and spiders, to get rid of these worms. All day long, the braconid wasp will consume little caterpillars.
- Enticing avian predators to a location. You might be able to recruit the aid of certain birds by luring them to your yard, including some of their predators like house sparrows, skylarks, and goldfinch skylarks.
- Alternate harvests. Insect populations can be decreased in the future by crop rotation. implying that you grow a variety of plants in your garden on occasion
- Take out any plant detritus. Dead or obsolete plants should be immediately removed. The caterpillar will spend the winter among such plant detritus when it is in its pupal stage.
- Manually remove worms every week. Manual worm management can reduce an epidemic (but if your infestation is anything like the one I had on my kale last season, you will never win). Pick them off at least once every week while wearing gloves. (You might break them up or place them in a jar with soapy water.)
- Put netting over the plants you have. To prevent butterflies from laying their eggs on your plants’ leaves, cover them with a thin layer of nylon cloth. (Do this beforehand since the net could stop the worms from being eaten by their natural predator).
- Utilize natural pesticides like cornmeal. There are several organic and natural uses. To destroy the worms, cover damp leaves with dry cornmeal or rye flour. They eat it, swell up, and finally die.
Biocontrol to Repel Cabbage Worms
What biological technique could be applied to repel cabbage worms? The use of Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki is the most widely used and successful natural pest control method. In the commercial world, it is frequently referred to as Bt or BtK. You might stop caterpillars and worms from eating your plants by spraying this bacterium on them, but the plants won’t be protected.
If you’d rather use the powdered version of BtK instead of the spray, you may. The bacteria that the caterpillar eats produce a toxin right away that makes the worm less inclined to eat sprayed plants. It stops feeding as a result, starving to death in a short period of time. If you don’t see the worms or their yellow eggs, you risk killing any helpful butterfly larvae, so only do this if you can see them (like monarch caterpillars).
Cabbage worms can also be managed using neem oil. Given this, regular application of a neem oil solution to your garden may help your plants become less alluring to pests. If your plant is already afflicted with cabbage worms, neem oil frequently won’t help.
The act of growing cabbage might be really joyful. When cabbage is harvested after the winter only to find that cabbage worms have been eating it, it is frustrating. It’s crucial to monitor your cabbage crop, identify pests, and act quickly to get rid of cabbage worms. Your entire crop might be seriously harmed if you don’t keep them in check.