Cabbage Worms And Loopers – Who Knew?

cabbage worm The term cabbage worm is primarily used for any of four kinds of larvae that feed on cabbages and other cole crops. Host plants include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, radishes, turnips, rutabagas and kohlrabi.

The imported cabbage worm is the green larva of the cabbage butterfly or cabbage white, any of several largely white butterflies. The Small White butterfly is a small, common, cosmopolitan butterfly whose caterpillar has fine, short fuzz and is bright green. It prefers cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
A larger Old World butterfly is called Large White.
A common North American butterfly is known as the southern cabbage butterfly.
The Green-veined White butterfly occurs in Europe and North America.

cabbage looper The cabbage looper, is a member of the moth family. The caterpillar is smooth and green with white stripes. It is called a “looper” because it arches its body as it crawls, inchworm style. This species is very destructive to plants due to its voracious consumption of leaves. It is not restricted to cole crops. Other plant hosts include tomato, cucumber, and potato. The adult of the species is a nocturnal brown moth.

The cabbage webworm is a widely distributed webworm native to southern Europe or Asia that also injures cabbages and other vegetables in the Gulf states of the United States.

The diamondback moth or, is a member of the moth family Plutellidae. The caterpillar is smooth and solid green in color. When disturbed, it thrashes and drops off the plant. The newly emerged larva is a leaf miner, entering the tissues of the leaf and consuming the parenchyma between the two outer layers of the leaf. Larger larvae make holes through the leaf, consuming all the tissue. The adult of the species is a small, elongated gray moth with whitish spots on the forewings that form two diamond shapes when the moth is at rest. The diamondback moth is primarily a tropical species, but is migratory, reaching temperate zones in most years.

Source Identifying and Controlling Cabbage Worms Organic Controls for Cabbage Worms. Check your plants frequently for worms, especially if you have seen the butterflies nearby. Check plants thoroughly, and hand-pick and destroy any worms you find. If you have a serious infestation, purchase bacillus thuringiensis (BT) from your garden center and apply it according to the directions.

Source Ohio State University Department of Entomology
Source CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener
Source University of Illinois The bug review

Hint: Removal of cabbage worms by hand, many time is all that is needed. However for a organic control you can use bacillus thuringiensis (BT) without the need to call in the big guns using highly toxic commercial insecticides.

Young seedlings are easily killed by insects. Keep a keen eye out for these critters. Adult plants can fend off and recover from an insect infection much better than young seedlings.

Homemade Insect controls
* 1 cup tobacco, steeped in hot water, strained when cool into:
1 gallon water
Or Soak tobacco in warm water for 24 hours to make a weak tea then strain.
This will kill caterpillars, aphids and some worms but do not use on solanceous plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

* 1/4 to 1 package chewing tobacco
1 ounce listerine
1 teaspoon dish soap
1 gallon water
Not very organic and extremely toxic

* 3 Tablespoons liquid detergent
1 gallon water
Kills slugs. Use weekly

* 2 Tablespoons salt
1 quart warm water
Kills cabbage worms and spider mites – mix and spray as needed

Hint Add Neem oil added to the homemade insecticidal spray
Neem oil is a natural pesticide.

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5 responses to “Cabbage Worms And Loopers – Who Knew?

  1. Pingback: Brussels Sprouts .. King Of The Tiny, Almost Wild Cabbage. | Town & Country Gardening

  2. Pingback: Cabbage Is Not A Dirty Word – It’s Wunderbar | Town & Country Gardening

  3. I have to hurry out to my fruit trees and get the tent caterpillars out of there.


    • Re wordsfromanneli _ Grin … Have you tried? Using a 1 or 2 gallon pressure sprayer that will knock holes in the web. Spray with:
      1/4 to 1 package chewing tobacco boiled, cooled strain into 1 gallon of clean water
      1 ounce listerine
      1 teaspoon dish soap
      1 gallon water
      Not very organic and extremely toxic. Kills worms on contact
      Happy worm free gardening


      • Hahaha! I can just see me starting to chew tobacco and explaining it by saying I’ve got worms.
        But seriously, thanks for that recipe. I’ll make a note of it. If I get brave enough to go buy some tobacco I’ll try it. The recipe I mean!


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