Home Vegetable Gardening Cabbageworms: A Common Pest in Cabbage Gardens: Identification, Control, and Prevention

Cabbageworms: A Common Pest in Cabbage Gardens: Identification, Control, and Prevention

by Gregory
3 minutes read

Cabbageworms: A Common Pest in Cabbage Gardens

Cabbageworms are the larvae of cabbage moths and are one of the most common pests in cabbage gardens. These pests can cause serious damage to both young and mature cabbage plants, and can even prevent head formation. Therefore, early detection and control is essential for protecting your cabbage crop.

Types of Cabbageworms

There are several different types of cabbageworms that can infest cabbage plants. The most common types include:

  • Imported cabbageworm: This worm is velvety green with a narrow, light yellow stripe down its back. It tends to feed closer to the center of the plant.
  • Cross-Striped cabbageworm: This worm is bluish gray with numerous black stripes running crosswise. It also has a black and yellow stripe running along the length of its body. It feeds on all tender parts of the plant, but prefers buds.
  • Cabbage looper: This worm is light green with a pale white stripe down each side and two thin white stripes down its back. It moves in a looping motion, as it has no middle legs.
  • Diamondback moth larvae: These larvae are small, yellowish green, and have a forked tail. They feed on all plant parts, but prefer the buds of young plants.

Symptoms of Cabbageworm Damage

Cabbageworms can cause a variety of symptoms on cabbage plants, including:

  • Holes in leaves
  • Skeletonized leaves
  • Stuunted growth
  • Wilting
  • Head formation prevention

How to Control Cabbageworms

There are a variety of methods that can be used to control cabbageworms, including:

  • Insecticides: Insecticides can be effective in killing cabbageworms, but they should be used with caution, as they can also harm beneficial insects.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt): Bt is a non-toxic, biological insecticide that is specifically targeted towards worms and caterpillars. It is safe for use on most garden vegetables and will not harm beneficial insects.
  • Neem oil: Neem oil is another safe and effective insecticide that can be used to control cabbageworms. It is also effective against many other pests, including aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
  • Organic controls: There are a number of organic controls that can be used to deter cabbage moths and prevent cabbageworm infestations, such as:
    • Growing red clover and white clover around cabbage plants
    • Planting strongly scented herbs, such as lavender, around cabbage plants
    • Using eggshells to deter cabbage moths

How to Prevent Cabbageworms

In addition to using control methods, there are a number of things you can do to prevent cabbageworm infestations in your garden, such as:

  • Inspect your plants regularly: Check your cabbage plants regularly for signs of cabbageworms or their damage.
  • Remove infested leaves: If you find any cabbageworms or their damage, remove the infested leaves immediately.
  • Use floating row covers: Floating row covers can be used to prevent cabbage moths from laying eggs on your plants.
  • Companion planting: Planting certain companion plants, such as marigolds and nasturtiums, can help to deter cabbage moths.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your cabbage plants from cabbageworms and ensure a bountiful harvest.

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