It’s quite unfortunate that the more humans strive to grow organic crops, the more the garden pests feel the need to attack and feast on them. The most common garden pest is the cabbage worm. These take the forms of cabbage webworms, leaf miners, cabbage loopers or the imported cabbage worms. Crops that have been attacked by these pests are likely to appear unsightly or may even die. To know if your crops are being attacked by cabbage worms, these are the things that you should look for:
Presence of butterflies:
Butterflies are, in essence, fully metamorphosed caterpillars. As such, if you notice a lot of butterflies in your garden, it’s highly possible that the crops are gravely infected by cabbage worms. To be on the safe side, you shouldn’t wait till you witness a crowd of butterflies. Instead, as soon as you see a few of them, inspect the crops and take the appropriate action.
Dark green droppings on the crops’ leaves:
Generally, cabbage worms are heavy eaters. Thus, the more they eat, the more they defecate. And so, as soon as you come across some dark green droppings on the crops’ leaves, know that the crops are already being infected by pests. To ascertain this, simply look on the leaf’s underside as this is where they normally lay their eggs.
Crops being grown:
Since cabbage worms attack crops that belong to the cabbage family, if you have planted any of these crops, chances are that these worms could be feeding on them. Examples of these crops include all types of cabbage greens, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts, turnips greens and collards.
Time of the year:
It’s during this time of the year that the cabbage worms awaken and start searching for a place to lay their eggs as well as find food. Therefore, if at all you have crops in your garden at this time of the year (spring), you should implement measures that will repel these pests.
Holes in the plants:
The most obvious sign that cabbage worms are already attacking your garden is the presence of holes on the crops’ leaves. It’s important that even after you notice one hole, you take the appropriate action for if dismissed, the damage can intensify within a few days.
How to control the cabbage worms:
Cabbage pests are best controlled through the use of BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis). BT is a natural bacteria used in pesticides. Cabbage worms that feed on crops that have been sprayed using a BT product end up dying instantly.
Though ineffective and unreliable, you can also choose to handpick the worms and destroy them. This practice is best done if there are few worms.
You may also implement some preventive measures such as using a floating row cover to protect the plants especially in early summer (when egg laying is at its peak) or in spring. You may also choose to cover the crop heads – like cabbage, broccoli or cabbage heads with a nylon stocking so as to prevent the worms from burrowing into them.