Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:50 pm

Cabbage moths

Hi all, two years ago was the first time I had an issue with cabbage moths. I didn't realize I even had them until after I harvested several heads of broccoli. About an hour after bringing them into my house I returned to my kitchen to find the green larvae EVERYWHERE. The walls, the ceiling, the floors and the counters. Since then I've tried a few different things in the garden including neem oil, diatomaceous earth, egg shells, fake butterflies and snakes, and nothing really seemed to help. I've even spent hours individually picking them off my plants. It's getting close the time to plant brassicas and I'm debating on not even planting any this year, but I just love broccoli and cauliflower. Does anyone have any other suggestions for keeping cabbage moths and larvae away? Thanks!!

Senior Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:12 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Hi, I love broccoli, and grow a lot of it, and there are tons of cabbage moths here. Personally, I find no issues with picking the eggs/larvae off the plants manually. They're hard to spot at first, but once you get used to it, it's pretty easy. I like to spend a lot of time inspecting my plants anyway, so I just rub the eggs off the undersides of the leaves while I do that, and keep an eye out for the holes that indicate a larva has hatched, and when I see that, hunt it down. This works for me.

If it doesn't work for you, the best thing to do is row covers to keep the moths from laying their eggs on your plants:

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:50 pm

Thanks for replying! I may have to try row covers. I don't really mind rubbing off the eggs or removing the larvae, it just seems like the next day there's a ton more.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2916
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:52 pm
Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 7a/7b

I ALWAYS cover my greens with a light Agribon, to keep bugs AND rabbits off. I start everything about 3 weeks before transplanting small plants in a double row on both sides of of a long line of T-tape, for irrigating. Before transplanting, I sprinkle some Sluggo on the row, as these can be a problem when you can't really see the plants very well. I seal one side of the row by shoveling soil on the Agribon, the other side with long pieces of various heavy things - pipes, lumber, and any scraps of things sitting around. This way, I can uncover, then recover easily.

Posts: 14067
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Besides row covers you can also use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) . It is organic but is short lived so you have to know how and when to apply it. It only affects caterpillars and does not affect any other insects. ... abbageworm

The other thing to do would be to encourage natural predators in your garden by providing food and habitat for them. A good garden patrol will keep most things in check.

Finally, if cabbage worms are an annual problem, then break the cycle by planting cabbages in a different location or by alternating years of planting cabbages with some other crop. That way the butterflies will not be hanging around every year for you to set up the buffet for them.

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