12 Strategies for Battling Cabbage Moths, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

For many gardeners planting brassicas in anything but the very early spring or fall is asking to be devastated. Cabbage moths can quickly colonize a patch of brassicas leaving tons of eggs which seem to grow into caterpillars and strip entire plants in the blink of an eye.

Don’t give up on summertime brassicas just yet though! There’s many ways you can fight off the cabbage moths to reap bountiful harvests.

Pick the worms off by hand.

It’s certainly not fun but it can be effective particularly if you only have a few plants. Drop worms into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Be sure to check the undersides of leaves. If you see a cabbage worm with little white cocoons on its back leave it be. The cocoons will hatch into parasitic wasps, killing that worm and eventually others.

Note: Know your worms! Species that also have a green caterpillar stage include Luna Moths, Black Swallowtail Butterflies, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Some gardeners swear by the tennis racket method. When the cabbage moths show up in the spring they head out with tennis rackets to swat them out of the air. If you go this route be sure avoid killing other non-harmful moths and butterflies.

Use your poultry.

If you have a backyard flock it may be worth letting a few birds into your cabbage patch once the plants have gotten big enough. Both ducks and chickens have been known to enjoy cabbage worms.

On the subject of birds, try to attract songbirds to your garden.

Many songbirds will eat cabbage moths but they need to be visiting your garden regularly to take notice. Make your garden more bird friendly by planting varying heights of plants for them to perch on or adding feeders, houses, and/or bird baths.

Try companion planting.

Red Acre Cabbage & Wormwood

There are several crops that can be planted in your cabbage or broccoli patch to deter pests. Wormwood, thyme, marigolds, tomatoes, tansy and peppermint are all believed to help keep the cabbage worms away. You can also use companion plants like buckwheat and yarrow to attract beneficial insects to fight the cabbage worms for you.

You may also consider interplanting single brassicas throughout a garden. Unlike a monoculture bed having a plant here or there is much harder for cabbage moths to find.

Be sure to read our other post, The 7 Benefits of Companion Planting.

Try moth decoys.

While we haven’t tested it there’s a belief that cabbage moths are territorial and will leave your plants be if you hang decoy moths on and around your brassicas. Check out this article from The Good Seed Blog for more information and printouts.

Make your own plant spray.

Some people have found that tansy tea or oil deters cabbage worms when sprayed on the plants because of the volatile oils it contains. Others have had success with sprays made from dish soap, crushed garlic, or blended hot peppers.

Plant a trap crop.

Have you ever noticed that cabbage worms or another garden pest really love a specific variety? While you might initially think you should avoid planting that crop the opposite is really true. Plant the offending variety and then the pests will be less likely to go after other varieties you planted. Some people also choose to burn the trap crop with a flame weeder once it’s covered in pests to eliminate many of them. If you choose the burn method make sure your fire doesn’t get out of hand and you follow local regulations.

You may want to try organic pesticides.

Before you think we’re advocating the use of harsh chemicals know that there are organic and natural substances that are considered pesticides. Probably the most well known example is diatomaceous earth which is a powder made from crushed, fossilized, prehistoric crustaceans. This powder will cut insects (but not people or animals) as they crawl through it but it does need to be re-applied every time it rains. If you want to be sure whatever you buy is organic look for an OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certification label.

It’s also important to note that pesticides affect all insects, good or bad. Consider what beneficial insects may also be harmed by your pesticide choice before you choose this strategy.

Practice crop rotation and cover cropping.

Both crop rotation and cover cropping are important to a healthy garden for a couple of reasons. First they help lessen disease and pest problems by ensuring the same crop isn’t planted in the same area helping to break pest and disease life cycles by moving their food source. Second they help ensure plants receive necessary nutrients and stay healthy which makes them less susceptible to pest and disease issues to start with.

Remove and compost any leftover plant material at the end of each season.

Cabbage worms overwinter in dead plant material so it’s important to remove and compost it. Alternatively you can till it under.

See also:  How to Get Rid of Bugs and Midges in the Yard, Hunker

If you can’t find another solution that works for you, row cover will do the trick. Cover the plants right after you get them in the ground and cabbage moths will never get to your plants to lay eggs.

Gardening is never easy but it’s especially difficult when you have to deal without a lot of pests. Hopefully among these tips you’ll find a strategy that works for you and your garden.

How do you deal with cabbage moths? Did we miss anything?


Fall Armyworm: Recommended Pesticides and Controls

Fall armyworm invasion has necessitated a call to Ghana’s Parliament to declare an ‘agricultural state of emergency’. The invasion puts a GHC560m agricultural project (Planting For Food and Jobs) at ‘serious’ risk, per Myjoyonline. Myjoyonline further reports that, in Ghana, the armyworms have invaded farms in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and Eastern regions, spreading unchecked.

The Fall Armyworm was first noticed in Africa in January 2016. They caused massive damage to crops in several West African countries (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA – Benin).

What is the Fall Armyworm?

According to herald.co.zw, it can travel up to 2000km each year in search of warmer climates. Also, the worm is averse to the harsh winter of North America and so returns to tropical habitat in the autumn, which the Americans call “fall” hence the name “Fall Armyworm”.

What is the difference between African Armyworm and Fall Armyworm?

According to experts, the fall armyworm creates small holes in the stem of the maize plant. That is not the way of the way of the African armyworm.

The African armyworm usually hatches somewhere outside the farms and then steadily eat their way through everything in their path as a group. In contrast, the fall armyworm moth lays its eggs on the host plant. It does not eat everything and as it grows it moves up the maize plant. By that stage, the worm would have destroyed most of its competitors.

The fall armyworm makes a lot of yellowish debris and whitish powder on the leaves and the funnel where they are.

In this post, we have Recommended pesticides from PPRSD and Control measures by Plantwise

The Plant Protection and Regulation Service Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in Ghana has, as a matter of urgency, released a list of recommended pesticides for Fall Armyworm control.

The table presents the recommended pesticides with their active ingredients, their rates of application and more. For a hectare, PPRSD recommends 8 times the application rate.

Control 5WDG

30g/15lt water

No. Active Ingredient Brand Name Application Rate
1 Maltodextrin Eradicot T 50ml/15lt water
2 Emamectin Benzoate+Acetamiprid Ema Star 112EC 20ml/15lt water
3 Emamectin Benzoate
Ataka Super EC 75ml/15lit water
4 Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Bypel 1 15g (3cups) /15lt water
Agoo 50g (1 sachet)/15lt water
5 Chlorpyrifos+Deltamethrin Pyrinex Quick 256EC 70ml/15lt water
6 Acetamiprid + Indoxacarb Viper 46EC 40ml/15lt water
7 Ethyl palmitate Adepa 100ml/15lit water
8 Lambda- cyhalothrin+Acetamiprid Super top 30ml/15lt water
K-Optimal EC 50ml/15lt water
9 Imidacloprid + Betacyflutherine Thunder 145 OD O-TEQ 50ml/15lt water
10 Imidacloprid+Bifenthrin Galil 300SC 15ml/15lt water
11 Acetamiprid+Cypermethrin Chemaprid 100ml/15lt water
The Plant Health Clinic of Plantwise has also put together a combination of preventive and control measures for mitigating the incidence and effects of the fall armyworm. These methods and procedures will go a long way in the management of fall armyworm.

Moreover, there is no single silver bullet to control the newly introduced fall armyworm. This is why farmers should consider a package of measures.

1. Use of transgenic maize

In the western hemisphere, the most effective solution to contain this pest is still the use of transgenic plant varieties expressing the proteins from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis the so-called Bt-maize varieties. These genes produce proteins that are toxic when pest insects ingest plant tissues.

However, since 2014 resistance to single toxin maize varieties has become widespread and has led to the development of new cultivars expressing multiple toxins. Besides, the fact is that such Bt-maize varieties are now not available to farmers in most of tropical Africa. There are various reasons suggesting that these patented cultivars will not become widely commercialised under subsistence farming conditions

2. Cultural control

Cultural control such as;

  • Early planting to avoid periods of high pest densities.
  • Good soil preparation will affect pupae in the soil.
  • Crop rotation with non-host plants and varietal choice may well contribute to reducing pest pressure.
  • It is advisable to burn stubbles and cuttings after harvesting on infested fields. This will kill both the unhatched eggs, larvae, pupae and adults left on the field at harvest.
  • Early & regular visual inspection is one possibility to detect the pest’s presence.
3. Chemical control

Until they develop more sustainable solutions, they recommend the alternated application of contact/systemic insecticides based on pyrethroids, carbamates or organophosphates as an immediate management measure. Since the greatest damage usually occurs before the reproductive phase of maize, early pest detection that allows insecticide treatment of young larval stages is crucial.

At this stage they don’t have caused much damage they are more susceptible to chemical treatment than older and larger caterpillars. In addition, caterpillars soon bore into the stem or in the tassels and can no more be reached with contact insecticides. The result is that at this point yield losses are no more effectively prevented.

According to experience, a treatment is indicated when fall armyworms attack 5% of seedling plants. Also during the first month after planting, if 20% of the whorls of small plants show the presence of the pest. A treatment is less indicated when the plants have initiated their reproductive phase. Application regime is;

Lambda super/cyhalothrine100ml/knapsack sprayer.
Cyperdem 50ml – 100ml /15litre of water ( tank of knapsack sprayer ).
Cymethoate 50ml -100mls per 15 litres of water.
Consider 30ml- 50mls per 15 litres of water.
Karate 15mls -20mls /15litre of water.
Sumitox or [email protected] -100ml per knapsack sprayer.

K-optimal, etc (the farmer can use any contact and systemic pesticides in their control )

*Remember not to repeat same chemical treatment continuously but rather it is advisable to alternate chemical application to minimise their ability to develop resistance to the chemical if used continuously.

Spraying should target the middle portions of plants leaves(apical meristem) where the pest hides and lay its eggs.

Follow the instructions on the product label.

4. Biological control

Particularly strong upsurges are often observed because the pest has been introduced in the total absence of natural enemies from its home range. A number of insects (eg. Trichogramma wasps – Trichogramma sp.) are recurrently cited in literature to have a non-negligible impact on the fall armyworm. I hope PPRSD is contemplating to import, test and release the most promising candidates. It is important to introduce ones that are also active outside the maize fields and thus they will be important contributors for bringing back the overall natural balance. The use of specific viruses should also be contemplated in the framework of a longer-term strategy.

We should also hope for a number of more environmentally friendly options to be explored in view of their possible adaptation to conditions prevailing in tropical Africa. This includes host plant resistance, biological control and the use of specific insect viruses.


Bt Pest Control: Info For Controlling Pests With Bacillus Thuringiensis

You’ve likely heard the numerous recommendations for using Bt pest control, or Bacillus thuringiensis, in the home garden. But what exactly is this and how does using Bt in the garden work? Keep reading to learn more about this organic form of pest control.

What is Bacillus Thuringiensis?

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is actually a naturally occurring bacterium, common in some soils, that causes disease in certain insects, most notably leaf and needle feeding caterpillars. It was first discovered in the early 1900s. The French were the first to advocate using Bt in the garden and by the 1960s, Bacillus thuringiensis products were available on the open market and were readily embraced by the organic gardening community.

Controlling pests with Bacillus thuringiensis is dependent on its active ingredient, a crystal protein, which paralyzes the digestive system of the insect. The infected insect stops feeding and starves to death. While the original strains of Bt pest control were directed at caterpillars such as tomato hornworms, corn borers or earworms, cabbage loopers and leaf rollers, new strains have been developed to attack certain flies and mosquitoes. Bacillus thuringiensis products have become an essential weapon in the battle against West Nile Virus. Some field crops, such as corn and cotton, have been genetically altered to contain the gene for the crystal protein in their plant structure.

All in all, controlling pests with Bacillus thuringiensis has become a marvelous tool for eliminating certain insect species from both the commercial and home garden. Its use helps reduce the amount of chemical insecticides in our environment and is harmless when eaten by beneficial insects and animals. Study after study has shown that using Bt in the garden is perfectly safe in its application and ingestion by humans.

Controlling Pests with Bacillus Thuringiensis

Now that you have the answer to what is Bacillus thuringiensis, it probably sounds like Bt pest control is the only way to go, but there are a few things you should know about Bacillus thuringiensis products before you begin.

First and foremost, read the label. You don’t need to use Bt in the garden if you don’t have the pests it eliminates. Bacillus thuringiensis products are very specific in the insects they will or won’t kill. As with any pesticide – man-made or natural – there is always the danger of insects becoming immune and you don’t want to add to that problem with overuse.

Secondly, Bt will only affect those insects that actually eat it, so spraying your corn crop after the larvae have made their way inside the ear will be of little use. Timing is crucial, so the observant gardener won’t try to spray the moths or eggs, only the leaves the larvae will eat.

For those specified insects that do ingest the Bt product, be aware that starvation can take days. Many gardeners who have previously applied only chemical pesticides are used to the immediate effects on insect’s nervous systems and, therefore, think Bt pest control doesn’t work when they see the insects still moving.

Bacillus thuringiensis products are highly susceptible to degradation by sunlight, so the best time to spray your garden is early morning or evening. Most of these products adhere to the foliage for less than a week following application and the period shortens with rain or overhead watering.

Bt pest control products have a shorter shelf life than most chemical insecticides and should be stored in a cool, dark place. It’s best to buy no more than can be used in a single season, although manufacturers generally claim a reduction in effectiveness after two to three years. The timeline for liquid applications is even shorter.

If your garden is bothered by any of the susceptible insects, Bt pest control might be something to consider. Controlling pests with Bacillus thuringiensis can be an effective and environmentally friendly way to treat your garden. Knowing about what Bacillus thuringiensis is and how and when it should be used is the key to its success.

Note: If you are growing a garden specifically for butterflies, you may wish to avoid using Bacillus thuringiensis. While it poses no harm to adult butterflies, it does target and kill their young – larvae/caterpillars.


Natural Remedies for Bugs on Cabbage Plants

Natural Remedies for Bugs on Cabbage Plants

Related Articles

Cabbage pests, most typically larvae like cabbageworm, cabbage looper and diamondback moth larvae, can destroy a cabbage patch. Not only do they chew through the leaves and head of the cabbage, they also leave excrement and dead insects inside the head, rendering it unfit for consumption. Chemical pesticides alternatives include the powerful neurotoxins Endosulfan and Permethrin, both of which are used commercially on cabbage. Fortunately, effective natural remedies for cabbage pests are also available.

Companion Planting

One way of minimizing the number of pests in your cabbage patch is to plant the cabbage with companion plants. Hyssop, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme and southernwood all help repel the moths and butterflies that lay the larvae that eat the cabbage. Plant some of these companion plants around and between the cabbage plants to set up a barrier between pests and your cabbage.

Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects attack and eat your cabbage pests. Attract them by planting plants they like. Drawn by the scent of their favorite plant, they will stay because they find food — the pests you want to get rid of. For example, the Braconid wasp (Diaeretiella rapae) attacks the common cabbage worm. Braconid wasps are drawn to nectar plants like yarrow, daisies and alyssum.

Hand Picking

If you have only a few cabbage plants, sometimes the best remedy for cabbage pests is the simplest one: hand picking. Inspect the cabbage every day. When you spot the cabbage loopers or other larvae when they are small, remove them by hand, or with tweezers if you are squeamish. Check the outer leaves and the crevices of the cabbage head carefully because loopers especially are well camouflaged.

Garlic Water

Garlic water works as a repellent for cabbage worms. You can use a commercial product such as Garlic Barrier, or you can make your own garlic water. Mix one1percent pure garlic juice with 1 percent fish oil and 98 percent water. Put the mixture in a pump sprayer and saturate the leaves and head of the cabbage. A study conducted at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station showed that garlic water worked better than a synthetic insecticide to minimize both cabbage worms and their damage.

Bacillus thuringiensis

Bacillus thuringiensis, known as Bt, is a bacterium used as a biological pesticide. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology recommend using Bt if 10 percent of your cabbages or more are infested. Bt kills pests at the larval stage, but doesn’t kill adult pests. Because Bt is present naturally in most soils, it is considered a safe and acceptable pesticide for organic gardening.


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Cabbage Worms

The cabbage worm, which is the caterpillar of the cabbage white, can be a dangerous pest in your garden.


Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools

Here are tips on how to identify, control, and get rid of cabbage worms.

What are Cabbage Worms?

Cabbage worms are the same pest as “imported cabbageworms.” The adult butterflies are sometimes called cabbage whites or small whites. The Latin name is Pieris rapae, or Artogeia rapae.

This is a common pest for cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and other members of the cabbage vegetable family. Do not be overly concerned if you see a hole in a leaf; plants can withstand much leaf loss without consequence. It is during seedling establishment or early head formation that plants will incur true damage to their growth and yield.


How to Identify Cabbage Worms

Cabbage worms are velvety green larvae. They have a few faint yellow stripes. They are not to be confused with cabbage loopers, which are yellow-green caterpillars. Unlike cabbageworms, cabbage loopers raise and lower their bodies as they move because they have no middle legs. Cabbage worms become cabbage white butterflies, which are mostly white with a few black markings. Cabbage white butterflies might seem like a pretty addition to the garden, but they are probably laying eggs on the undersides of leaves.

Where you find cabbage worms and cabbage loopers, you also might find the eggs and larvae of the diamondback moth and the zebra caterpillar. The camouflage of these creatures is excellent, so you will often see the frass, or fecal matter, that they leave behind before you see them.

Photo Credit: Cabbageworm eggs like the one in this picture are absolutely tiny, so you might not see them before it’s too late.

Cabbage Worm Damage

Cabbage worms can happily eat away at the bases of cabbage, cauliflower, or the heads of broccoli without being noticed. They feed on foliage, and eventually they can leave plants only with stems and large veins. If left to their own devices, cabbage worms can devour your crops. Their fecal matter can also stain and contaminate the produce.

Photo Credit: Purdue University. Imported cabbageworms feed on the flesh of foliage and often hide on the undersides of leaves.


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