Cabbage Moth, Witches Gardens

Cabbage Moth

Cabbage Moth


Timely protection of plants from pests helps preserve future crops. Sometimes, with the negligent attitude of the owner of the site, naked slugs, cabbage moth, nematode and many other pests breed on it. Consider the options for dealing with them and talk about how to get rid of the nematode, slugs and many other species.


Cabbage moth is a small grayish-brown butterfly, a wingspan of only 14-17 mm. It flies in mid-May, lays small, light green eggs on the underside of the leaf (up to 300 pieces). Hatching light green caterpillars are very mobile, they gnaw through the fabric from the bottom of the sheet, and leave the skin on top in the form of a “parchment window” untouched.

Damage to the inner leaflets and the apical kidney will be more dangerous since the head of cabbage will not form in this case.

Over the summer, cabbage moth in the conditions of our region gives an average of 3-4 generations, and by the end of the growing season, it flies in whole clouds. Pupae overwinter in a cobwebbed cocoon, and sometimes butterflies on post-harvest residues.

On the caterpillars and pupae of the pest, beneficial insects – “riders” can parasitize, thanks to which the number of the pest is significantly reduced in some years.

One of the main measures for pest control is the cleaning and destruction of the post-harvest residues of cabbage and other crops of the same family since cocoons and pest butterflies hibernate on them. So, for example, the autumn digging of the site allows you to patch up the post-harvest residues and remaining plants into the soil, and with them the wintering stage of the moth.

The destruction of spring weeds, on which the first generation most often proceeds, will also be effective.


If there are more than 3-5 caterpillars on one plant and when they occupy 10-30% of the plants, it is necessary to apply to spray, but better with biological preparations: bitoxibacillin (1.5 g per 10 l of water) or lepidote (0.5 g per 10 l water). You can also use infusions of herbs, for example, from a dandelion. To do this, take 500 g of dandelion leaves, which are crushed and crushed, after which 10 l of water is poured. Then add 1 tablespoon of soap to the bucket, so that later the solution sticks better to the surface to be treated. After 3 hours, the infusion is filtered, and the leaves are sprayed at the rate of 1 l / m2, but be sure to try to spray as if from below.


The stem nematode of the onion is a very small (1.5 mm) filiform worm of white color. The pest lives inside the plant, wherewith the help of the oral apparatus in the form of a spear it pierces the walls of plant cells and sucks out the juice from there.

Damaged plants lag behind in growth, bend, seedlings turn yellow, die, and in older plants, the leaves are deformed, the bottom of the bulb is cracked, and its tissues seem to turn out. Damaged bulbs during storage become soft and rot and the seek “dies” together. The same symptoms are observed in garlic.

Onion nematode hibernates in soil, in bulbs, rarely in seeds. In onion waste, on dry scales, it lasts up to two years, and in dried garlic – up to five years.

Once in a humid environment, the nematode larvae, which are in a resting state, again enter a state of active life.

Before you get rid of the stem nematode, you will have to make a lot of effort. So in addition to onions and garlic, it can also damage tomatoes, parsley, radishes, parsnips, and some weeds.

Planting onions and garlic must be carried out on a site where these crops have not been grown for 3-4 years. A place intended for planting onions must be made a month before planting at the rate of 1 cup of lime-fluff or chalk, or dolomite flour per 1 m2. It is necessary to remove snow from these places in winter so that the soil freezes well. Where garlic has already been planted before winter, this should no longer be done.

The onions and garlic that are planted are disinfected by soaking in water with a temperature of + 16–18 ° C for 3 days, and the northeast by immersion in water with a temperature of + 45–46 ° C for 15 minutes. Preplant waste and waste from storage are placed in a pit and sprinkled with bleach or incinerated.

Plants such as calendula, reseda, marigolds, mint, cilantro, chrysanthemum, etc., sown around onion sections with strips of 20 cm wide are somewhat hindering the development of the nematode.


Naked slugs are invertebrates belonging to the class of mollusks, a subclass of gastropods. They have a fusiform elongated body (70 mm), covered with light-watery mucus. Vegetables, flower and even fruit crops damage these pests. Especially strongly naked slug is harmful in years with damp weather, in lowland, heavily clogged areas or on thickened crops and plantings.

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Slugs openly harm mainly at night, and during the day – only in cloudy or rainy weather. For a day, they crawl under lumps of soil, plant debris, under large ground leaves or under planks, etc. When feeding slugs, holes in the stems and holes in the leaves gnaw out, and deep cavities in the tubers and root crops. Damage caused by slugs can be identified by the drying silvery mucus remaining on the surface of the lesions.

How to get rid of slugs on the site? They can be dealt with if weeds are removed and removed from the site in a timely manner, thinning thickened crops and plantings is carried out, they are caught by laying on sections of old boards, wet canvases, and burlap, piles of burdock leaves, where they pick up the day after a “full” night. At noon, they are collected and destroyed, preferably by burning or by sprinkling on them small table salt or lime, but after these 30 minutes, the procedure must be repeated.


For permanent protection against slugs of individual groups of plants or beds with vegetables around them, potassium salt or superphosphate is laid out. To protect areas close to the powdery virgin lands or to the lowlands, where slugs can invade, lime or superphosphate is added in the form of 3 lines (3 cm each) after 15 cm from each other at the boundary of the protected area. Chemical protection against slugs should be used dosed.

After mowing, it is advisable to treat the sod areas located along the fences with a mixture of ash with bleach (30 g of ash and 5 g of lime per 1 m2).

Ground beetles, hedgehogs, frogs effectively fight slugs, so these animals must be preserved and conditions created for their attraction.

How to protect plants from white cabbage moth

How to protect plants from white cabbage moth

Protect your vegetables from cabbage moth

Many people at this time of year ask me how to stop caterpillars eating their vegetables. The content below is based on our trials of testing various approaches over the last 4 years.

The cabbage moth and the cabbage white butterfly* are the source of the caterpillars that can devour the winter vegetables growing in the garden. The moth/butterfly lays it’s egg under the leaf of the plant and the eggs hatch caterpillars. The caterpillars will leave large holes in the leaves, usually starting with the outside leaves first. If you don’t act quickly they will destroy the plant.

If you have an issue in your garden I’m sure you’ve seen the little moths flying around. The only real way to protect the plants is to prevent the moths landing and laying their eggs. Check your plants for the eggs/caterpillars daily and remove them. The image below shows what they look like. They can be removed by simply gently wiping them off with your finger.

The moths love brassica (kale, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower etc).

Signs of caterpillar attack:

  • Holes in the leaves
  • Green-blue small fuzz on the leaves, or sometimes around the base of the plants – these are droppings

Steps required:

  • Remove the caterpillars from the plants
  • Provide the plants with a tonic in the form of seaweed solution

Additional step: Spray the plant with Dipel, I believe that it is suitable for organic gardens. I have not tried it to date.

Decoys and repellents

Here are some of the things I have done to try to prevent these pests eating our vegetables:

Many years ago I read an article that said these moths do not tend to lay eggs where there are other moths already in the area. Based on this my son and I made some clay moths and painted them white. They stayed in the garden for the season and had questionable results. I only used them the one season. I have seen online images of similar versions but made by tying white cloth to a stick to look like a moth. The school garden uses foam balls stuck on sticks and painted with eyeballs to deter them.

Some plants are said to repel the moth. The main one being sage. White pansies are also recommended as the little white flowers are said to look like the moth. I continue to use sage in the garden for this purpose.

The white pansies I used one year and they looked pretty but I can’t say they really had an impact, although the image below was taken when I did do this and the plants look pretty healthy and hole free so maybe it did work…

Nasturtiums are said to attract these moths and can be planted near by to act as a decoy as the moths will go for them first and hopefully then leave the vegetables alone. I am testing this this year. I have planted some broccoli and kale beside a big rambling nasturtium and a sage plant, otherwise these plants are unprotected.


As mentioned above, the only way to prevent your vegetables being eaten by the caterpillars of the moth is to prevent them from landing on the plants. This year I am testing the following:

Once I have raised the seeds to the point of going into the garden I have put them under the cover of a cloche, I used old jars.

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As the plant grows too large for the jars they can be replaced with a larger cover to prevent the moths landing. I use an old fire grill.

The plant is generally strong enough once it outgrows this cover. You will need to keep up regular inspections of the plants to ensure that you are removing any eggs and keeping the caterpillars at bay once the cover is removed.

If you really want to allow these winter plants to grow pest free you will need to plant them together in one area and net it with exclusion netting (not bird netting). My version of this is not very pretty but to date has been wonderfully effective. Exclusion netting has a fine tight weave but allows light and rain through.

You would use poly pipe and create a tunnel for a neater look. You can see from my image that I used what I had on hand, mainly the edges of the beds beside the planting area. I added some frames to keep it high and nailed it down all the way around using strips of wood against the current beds, except at the front so that I can get in to harvest my amazing pest free produce at some point in the future! The most important thing is that the area is sealed. It is not the most beautiful addition to the garden, getting the suplas material at the edges under control is tricky. You may have guess that I did this myself without the help of Mr Fresh I am sure he would have done a neater job but he was busy and I wanted it finished. The little plants are growing strongly, unhindered by pests so far.

For a container based option the Vegepod is a great solution. Along with these other exclusion methods I am currently testing I have also planted a few cabbage, broccoli and kale in my pod.

I hope this helps. Happy growing.

Yates provide a useful summary of the difference between the moth and butterfly here.

How to Fight Common Pests of Cabbage and Other Brassicas

by Erin Marissa Russell

When you’re growing cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, or kale, you’re likely to run up against the garden pests this article will teach you to fight: the ones that prey on brassicas. Brassicas are a school of vegetables that include bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe (also called broccoli raab or rapini), broccolini, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, daikon, kale, kalettes , kohlrabi, mizuna, tatsoi, turnips and turnip greens, and wasabi. Read on to learn how to identify insects that target brassicas in your garden, what the damage they cause can look like, and what you should do to fight back against them.


Several varieties of aphids can cause trouble in a garden full of brassicas. You may see the tiny nymph or adults, with or without wings, in a variety of colors. Crops show that aphids have been feeding on them with wrinkled or dried-up looking leaves that may be distorted in shape. When infestation is widespread, plants may not recover.

You can manually remove aphids by squirting them off the undersides of plant leaves with a high pressure hose or by squashing them individually. All-natural insecticide sprays, either over-the-counter or ones made with ingredients like garlic, onion, or neem oil, have been reported to beat out aphids. Some gardeners swear by half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap diluted in a quart of water and sprayed over plants. Be sure to remove the stumps of brassica vegetables from the ground after harvesting, as aphids can use the material left behind as a safe place to spend the winter.


Although the most common pests that come to mind for gardeners are often insects, plenty of gardens fall prey to birds, so it makes sense to protect against them. In addition to seeing the birds in your garden, you may also see damage that resembles the feeding of caterpillars. If birds descend when plants are young, the results can be severe. Some gardeners report birds eating up an entire planting of brassica seedlings in just one day. Cover netting is the simplest solution to protect a garden against birds as it will keep birds from being able to reach the plants. Gardeners should ensure that there are no sagging areas in the net that can give birds access to plants just by sitting on low spots in the netting.

Cabbage Centre Grub

Gardeners may encounter the cabbage centre grub in one of many stages. The eggs are oval-shaped and cream in color. Grubs lay them on young leaves or on the surface of the soil. You may also see cream-colored caterpillars with a reddish brown striped pattern or brown pupae hanging from webbing in the plants. The adults are moths with a mottled brown color. You’ll see evidence of the cabbage centre grub in areas where caterpillars have fed. In addition to missing young growth, the caterpillars show their presence with a sawdust-like byproduct called frass and in webbing within the plants. Floating row covers can prevent the airborne adults from being able to lay eggs on your young plants. Examining plants for the caterpillars and dropping them each by hand into a pail of soapy water is effective enough to spend the time doing it. The nontoxic biologic insecticide Bacillius thurengiensis (Bt) is also effective against caterpillar grubs, worms, and moths.

Cabbage Cluster Caterpillar

The cabbage cluster caterpillar lays its eggs, shaded dark cream to brown, in a large parcel on the underside of leaves. Caterpillars are somewhat translucent with dark-colored heads when they are young, turning more toward greenish yellow with white stripes as they age. Where you see one cabbage cluster caterpillar, there are likely to be more, as these pests feed in groups. Pupae are golden brown and can be located in the soil around plants. The adult moth is cream in color, with males having dark brown patterns on their wings. The cabbage cluster caterpillar tends to leave behind nothing but the skeletons of leaves along with the webbing and frass in their wake. Treat as for other cabbage worms and moths, with floating row covers, handpicking grubs and dropping into soapy water, and using Bt insecticide.

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Cabbage Loopers

You can identify cabbage loopers by the motion they’re named for. These brassica pests move in a loop pattern, pulling their bodies along like inchworms. Caterpillars are light green with fine white lines that run down the caterpillar’s sides. Adult moths have brownish-gray wings with white spots in a symmetrical pattern. As with other caterpillars that feed on cabbages, treat by installing floating row covers to deter egg laying. Caterpillars can be picked off by hand and deposited into a bucket of soapy water, or treat the entire garden with nontoxic Bt.

Cabbage White Caterpillars (Cabbage White Butterflies)

Gardeners who will soon be seeing cabbage white caterpillars, also called cabbage white butterflies, may notice single eggs that are bullet-shaped in shades of yellow and orange. The caterpillars themselves are a velvety green with fine yellow striping on the sides and top. Pupae are yellowish green and usually are attached to a plant at the leaf or stem. The butterflies are white with one or two black spots, the number depending on whether the butterfly is male or female. In addition to large, ragged areas where plant matter has been eaten away, gardeners may notice the dark green droppings of the insect on plant leaves or folded into joints. Give these pests the classic treatment for cabbage worms and moths of adding floating row covers to prevent eggs being laid, picking off worms by hand and dropping into a pail of soapy water, and treating the garden with nontoxic Bt.


Eggs come in shades of cream to yellow with ribbing and are laid in a small cluster. Caterpillars are a grayish green, and when young, they tend to feed en masse. As caterpillars age, they turn black with markings in red, yellow, or cream. If touched or otherwise disturbed, the caterpillars tend to curl up into a protective ball. Gardeners may also see reddish brown pupae in the soil or observe the adult moths with wings patterned in gray, cream, and brown. Treat against cutworms as for other cabbage caterpillars and moths. Install floating row covers to reduce eggs being laid in the garden. Remove caterpillars by hand and drop into a bucket of soapy water, and treat the whole garden plot with nontoxic Bt.

Diamondback Moth

Pale yellow eggs appear in clumps laid on plant leaves or stems. Caterpillars are translucent at a young age, and as they grow, turn a bright yellow-green. Gardeners may find pupae woven of silvery mesh still attached to plants. Adult moths have a light brown stripe across the black of wings with a distinctive pattern of three diamonds. The diamondback moth caterpillars feed on plants from the inside, so damage may not be immediately evident. As they eat away the interior, they may make a few holes that face to the outside, which can show the damage. Treat as with other brassica pests that are moths and caterpillars. Install floating row covers to reduce the number of eggs adult moths can lay in the garden. Pick off the caterpillars themselves, dropping into a pail of soapy water, and treat the entire area with nontoxic Bt.


There are various types of mite that can plague a garden where brassicas grow. The insects and their eggs come in a variety of colors, but all mites are tiny in size. They manifest in various ways when it comes to damage, but all mites will show up in large numbers due to their tendency to colonize and ability to multiply rapidly. Treat much as you would for aphids, though with the large quantity of mites that usually show up in a garden, picking off the insects by hand isn’t recommended. You can aim for infested leaves with a pressure washer, which will be effective for all but the most delicate plants, which the high-speed spray might damage. An all-natural insecticide, either over-the-counter or a homemade mix with neem oil, garlic or onion, citrus, or a simple solution of half a teaspoon of dish soap diluted in one gallon of water can be sprayed on affected plants.

There’s no need to lose a large part of your harvest to pests, either through damage to the vegetables as they grow or through loss of plants as younger seedlings fall victim to infestation. Keep a close eye on the garden for signs of any of the insects we’ve covered (or signs that the insects are feeding), then follow the steps you’ve found here to make brassica pests a thing of the past.

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