Cabbage White Butterfly

by Jacki
(Grand Forks, B.C. Canada)

damaged leaves on collards

damaged leaves on collards

damaged leaves on collards
tiny green caterpillar
adults Cabbage White butterflies in action

Although pretty in flight, if you're a grower of cabbages, broccoli or any other brassica, this butterfly will get your blood boiling.

This European import is a destructive pest, making lace out of your best crops of any of these related plants.

The adult is very fluttery, and extremely hard to photograph, and the larva are tiny green caterpillars and rarely seen until the damage is done.

They will eat huge holes in the leaves, and leave behind their frass or droppings, making it inedible.

If you see these fluttering white butterflies in your vegetable garden, make sure you rinse your broccoli in salted water for a few minutes to get the caterpillars out.

A sure fire way to prevent damage is to cover your crop top to bottom with row cover to keep the adults out.

You can use Bacillus thuringiensis against the larvae, which is a naturally occurring bacterial infection which gives them a tummy ache, and eventually they starve to death. I'm unsure if this has an effect on other more desirable types of butterflies, so I don't use this method, but it is considered to be an organic form of pest control.

Comments for Cabbage White Butterfly

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Jun 10, 2014
Crop Cover...Thanks Jacki
by: Deanna

Thanks Jacki

Any suggestions for crop cover? Deanna


I've used one called Reemay, which is spun bonded polyester. It's light and easy to put on. However, after a season or two, it tends to get holes in it, so you'll end up with smaller and smaller pieces. I bought mine years ago at Lee Valley Tools, but if you have a good garden center or Home Hardware store near you, they'll have it.

Best of luck!
Jacki

Jun 08, 2014
Cabbage Butterfly Season?
by: Deanna

Hi Thanks so much for the info...can you tell me when
Cabbage Butterfly Season starts? I saw one around the end
of May in Trail BC...but so far nothing here in Fruitvale where
we are higher up...

Hi Deanna, I've seen the butterflies as early as the beginning of June, but it can be earlier if the weather is warm enough for them to hatch. It all depends on the season.

Start your protection efforts early - even after you see an adult, you will have a couple of days before they get down to the work of mating (it's the caterpillars that eat your plants).

Best of luck!
Jacki

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