You may not even know when cabbage worms infest your garden. They are very common, and there are several ways you can prevent them from damaging your plants. Here is a complete guide about everything you need to know about Cabbage worms. – Gro Indoor
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How To Prevent And Eliminate Cabbage Worms

by Kunal Khatri 09 Apr 2023

How To Prevent And Eliminate Cabbage Worms

One of the most common pests in any garden are cabbage worms. Almost every gardener has been known to struggle with them. They are frustrating, sneaky, and can do a lot of damage to your plants. Worry not, here is a complete guide of everything you need to know about cabbage worms and how to get rid of cabbage worms off your plants before things go worse.

If you're wondering, do cabbage worms only infest cabbage plants? No, the reality is even more daunting. As a matter of fact, the infestation can affect plants, leaving nothing but damaged leaves with nibbled holes. However, we have some good news; there are many easy ways for you to get rid of cabbage worms and stop them from destroying your garden. Here is everything you need to know.

Cabbage Worms What Are They?

Cabbage worms look like small green larvae. Technically, it's the larval stage of a butterfly, also called cabbage white or small whites. They are attracted to plants like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, and other plants from the cabbage family. Another issue with cabbage worms is that they can feed on plants in any season. If the cabbage worms are left unaddressed, that can pose a severe problem to plant growers and farmers alike. Did you know? It can take only one or two cabbage worms to eradicate a plant.

These worms can feed on your plant foliage hungrily, defoliating the plant entirely, leaving the leaves only with a few stems and large veins. Not only that, the droppings left behind by the cabbage worms can contaminate the soil. But what makes them different from other caterpillar types?

How Do I Identify Cabbage Worms?

If you look closely, cabbage worms have yellow stripes that look like cabbage loopers. The only way to set them apart is to watch how they move. The cabbage looper moves by raising and lowering his body and has no legs in the middle - cabbage worms can't do this. These pests can be found anywhere, on any plant. They can also be spotted on larvae or eggs of other insects, such as diamondback moths or zebra caterpillars. Unfortunately, cabbage worms can be difficult to identify as they can easily be camouflaged because of their green color.

How Do I Prevent Cabbage Worms?

When it comes to infestation, cabbage worms can be a nightmare, and getting them removed in the first place can save you a lot of frustration and effort. So, how do I prevent Cabbage worms? You can use row covers to protect your plants, making it impossible for the adult butterflies to lay their eggs on your plants. Another effective strategy is companion planting, which can help cabbage worms out of your garden. Not many growers know, cabbage worms are repelled by thyme and a few other herbs. Planting these herbs near your plants can keep cabbage worms away for good.

Similarly, "trap crops" can also be used as a companion plant. Trap crops draw cabbage worms in and lure them from the desirable plant. A great example of a trap crop is mustard. Finally, it would be best if you considered planting a variety of cabbage plants and other plants that are less vulnerable to damage from cabbage worms. For instance, you can plant the red-leaved cabbage varieties as they are less likely to get infested by cabbage worms. Another benefit to this is that cabbage worms cannot camouflage easily on red leaves and can become an easy pick by birds or growers.

How Do I Get Rid of Cabbage Worms In My Garden?

You can never be too prepared for a pest outbreak. There will be times when things can get out of control, and it could be due to several factors such as the weather, geographical location, time of the year, etc. So, what do you do if all your prevention methods fall short? Well, don't worry! We can teach you a few ways to get rid of cabbage worms from your plants.

Manual Removal of Cabbage Worms

This is the time to get your hands dirty, removing cabbage worms from their eggs is a very effective strategy. Take it from us; if you seriously want to get on top of this problem, this is what you need to do.

If you know you have cabbage worms in your garden, take your time to pluck the eggs from the plants or the cabbage worms themselves when you see them. Dropping those plucked worms in soapy water would kill them instantly. Remember, this technique may take a lot of time, but your efforts will well worth it.

Drying Cabbage Worms

Among many other ways, you can desiccate the cabbage worms that are making your life miserable. Sprinkling cornmeal on cabbage leaves can also be a useful technique against these worms. Cornmeal protects plants by serving as a diversion. The cabbage worms eat the cornmeal, swell up, and eventually die. Similarly, you can use rye flour over the plants. The rye flour dries out the worms, killing them instantly.

Another defense against cabbage worms is D.E., Diatomaceous earth. We highly recommend opting for this product as it targets cabbage worms and other types of ground pests. One of the best things about using this product is that it's non-toxic to humans and can effectively kill bugs crawling and dry out soft-body insects..

Bring In Beneficial Bugs

There are several beneficial bugs that you can introduce in your garden to prevent any cabbage worms from infesting. There are numerous types of bugs you can add, including the Trichogramma wasp. This tiny wasp acts like a parasite to the cabbage worm eggs and doesn't sting humans.

Neem Oil Spray

Another treatment to prevent cabbage worms from damaging your plants is using neem oil. However, you only need to use neem oil for preventive purposes rather than a measure of control. Spraying neem oil makes your plants look less attractive to pests and keeps them at bay.

Therefore, if you want to prevent cabbage worms from infesting your garden, spray neem oil on the plants and make a habit of it before they settle in. If you want to learn how to use neem oil for maximum benefits, we have a complete guide on that subject.

Killing Cabbage Worms With Insecticides

Chances are, using insecticides is not your preferred method of eliminating cabbage worms from entering your garden. However, sometimes you have to take drastic measures to address a serious issue. Fortunately, you don't have to limit your options to synthetic insecticides to eliminate these pests, even though that's a suitable option.

Use Pesticides Containing Bacillus Thuringiensis Or Spinosad

Here is a piece of expert advice don't just use any regular insecticide but instead go for one that contains both Spinosaid or Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.T). These two key ingredients will ensure your pest control efforts don't go in vain. Spraying Bacillus Thuringiensis (B.T) a couple of times a week can eliminate nasty pests from your garden, even cabbage worms.

If you want to eliminate a problem, target the source. That is the exact approach that we recomend here. Spraying B.T over the plants is a natural treatment that will help you eliminate cabbage worms by targeting the soil. The process is relatively simple and works even better if you choose to use the concentrated version. Spinosad, the other key ingredient, is a product kept in isolation from soil-dwelling, naturally occurring bacteria. It's handy at controlling cabbage worms and other soft-body pests.

Monterey Lawn & Garden B.T. Concentrate

For professionals, the brand Monterey Lawn & Garden B.T. concentrate is a common house-hold name. If you're a newbie or have no idea what to look for, we highly recommend giving it a try. The best part is that it comes in different sizes and is very useful. This insecticide is easy on the environment, keeps your plants protected, and is hard on the pests. It also has no side-effects on earthworms, birds, and other beneficial bugs. It's OMRI listed, which means that it has been tested and met all the standards and considered organic. To make things better, it can also be used safely on plants until harvest day!

Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer Concentrate

What if you're unsure if it's a cabbage worm or other worm-like species, like a caterpillar? If you cannot identify the bugs damaging your crops, we recommend buying Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer Concentrate. It is one of the most economical and convenient insecticides you'll ever use. It is perfect for preventing worms and caterpillars of all kinds, including hornworms, earworms, and cabbage worms, of course. The secret ingredient making it so effective is Dipel, which is a strain of Bacillus Thuringiensis. On application, it can kill the worms in a few days without harming the plants.

If You Want To Get Rid of Cabbage Worms, has Got You Covered!

Getting rid of pests in your garden should not be a problem, even if it's cabbage worms. We hope now you have all the information and understanding of dealing with those pesky, creepy pests in your garden. Choose any of the above solutions based on your use, and prevent your plants from being decimated. If you're looking to learn more about how to keep your garden infestation-free, feel free to check out our blog on common pests & diseases you may encounter!

May 5th 2021
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