Pest Management

How to: Manage Cabbage Worms in Your Garden

Cabbage worms blog post

Cabbage worms are the caterpillar of a white butterfly with black wing tips and black spots. You can distinguish them from the cabbage looper by looking for faint yellow stripes on its back. The eggs are cone shaped, whitish-yellow, and laid on the underside of the leaves.

Treatment Options:

  • Head-pick (or pay your kids a quarter each to handpick for you like we do!)
  • Cover the plants with insect netting (floating row covers) from when they are babies. This will help to prevent them from becoming an issue!
  • Use the organic pesticide, BTK (bacillus thuringiensis Kurstaki). BTK is a naturally occurring microorganism that sickens and kills caterpillars without harming butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. There are varied opinions regarding the safety of BTK, but it’s classified as an organic treatment and is certainly safer than using a more toxic pesticide.

Plants to Especially Watch:

  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Radish
  • Turnips

Learn more about growing over 70 different foods, including how to manage various pests in our FREE iOS, Android, or new Universal Web App!

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