Cabbage White Caterpillar and Butterfly
The cabbage white caterpillar and butterfly can wreak havoc on your cabbage and mustard family crops. The butterfly lays the eggs on your plants. The caterpillars eat your leaves and can bore inside.
Life Cycle of Cabbage White Caterpillar and Butterfly
One of the best-known garden insects and worst pests of cabbage is the common cabbage worm whose parent is the white butterfly. The butterflies are observed hovering over cabbages and cauliflowers all through the summer.
Small yellow eggs are laid on foliage and hatch in 4-8 days. The velvety green worms grow very rapidly, eating large, irregular holes in the leaves of the plants. The pupae overwinter on old cabbage stumps and rubbish in fields.
What The Cabbage White Butterfly Looks Like
The butterfly can be distinguished by the white or creamy white coloring and small black dots on its wings.
The wings of Pieris rapce are a dirty white above, tinged with yellowish in the female. The base and apex of the fore wings are blackish and the female has two black dots on the fore wings; the male has one. There is a black spot on the anterior margin of the hind wing. In the male it is indistinct.
By itself, the cabbage white butterfly is not a pest.
It doesn’t eat or damage your plants, it feeds on nectar. The issue is the butterfly comes into the garden and looks for fresh, hearty leaves to lay its eggs on.
As the eggs mature, they become caterpillars that eat all your leaves.
Watch Where The Butterfly Lands In Your Yard
If you see the butterfly landing in your yard, be on the lookout where it is landing. Check for eggs and remove them from your plants to protect them from a caterpillar infestation.
Normally, the butterfly will drop one, single, light white or orange colored egg on a leaf.
Cabbage White Caterpillar
The caterpillars hatch from eggs and start eating all the leaves on your plants. Creating holes everywhere and at times, entire plants.
The caterpillar got its name because it feeds upon cabbage and the larva bores into the heart of the plant.
The larva is pale green, finely dotted with black, with a yellowish stripe down the back, and a row of yellowish spots along each side in a line with the breathing holes.
Some Plants The Caterpillar Enjoys
|Cabbage||Similar Green Leafy Veggies|
|Garden Cress||London Rocket Flixweed|
|Bok Choy||Garlic Mustard|
If You Had Issues In Past Years With Caterpillars
1.) Cover young plant with mosquito netting, held up off the leaves by sticks, usually, four of them, set in the ground, and a piece of netting pinned on. This is done in various ways, according to the tact of the person doing it, and, when properly done, prevents the eggs from being laid upon the leaves. These costs, besides the labor, are minimal for each plant.
2.) Picking the eggs is the next method. They can be easily found, and, if attended to, they may all be destroyed. Children can easily do this, and are usually led to do it by the promise of a small reward for any certain number found.
3.) Have chickens? Set them loose in your garden, and they will pick off most of the worms, as they are considered by fowls as a sweet morsel and very desirable.
4.) Look for the pupa below if the caterpillars have been there for some time. The caterpillars will go through several growth stages and then form a chrysalis to become the butterfly. This happens extremely quickly, 18 to 20 days to be exact.
Now You Know The Importance of Being Able To ID These Insects
Being able to id the butterfly will allow you to see if the insect is visiting your plants. Chances are that if the butterfly has visited your garden plants you now must search for eggs she may have left.
If the eggs are left to hatch, you can lose entire crops to hungry caterpillars. Once you have the caterpillars, you will need to rid your garden of them quickly.