neubio
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Location: California

Critters on my cabbage

Hello! I'm brand new to this website, so please excuse any mistakes I make in this post :)

Well... I left for the weekend and when I came back my poor cabbages and lettuce had been ravaged by a voracious critter- they literaly ate two whole lettuce and were in the process of gnawing away at the cabbage, as well as moving on to my tomatoes.

I was just wondering if anyone here could help me identify this culprit and bring it to justice for its audacious crimes, in an organic way of course! I've picked off any that I can see but as some are very tiny they are hard to find. I tried to be as humane as possible and put them in a jar, but as some were so small they might have been squished :wink:

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks

[url=https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/818/dsc2135.jpg/][img]https://img818.imageshack.us/img818/4549/dsc2135.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/705/dsc2140d.jpg/][img]https://img705.imageshack.us/img705/5340/dsc2140d.th.jpg[/img][/url]
My poor cabbage

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Kisal
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It looks to me like the larva of Pieris rapae, commonly called the cabbage white butterfly.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

DoubleDogFarm
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Yep.

Eric

neubio
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Wow thanks for the replies! it does indeed seem that it is Pieris rapae on my cabbages; I hate to ask another question, but do you have any idea how they could have gotten to my veggies? I want to prevent them from coming back, I'm confused since I grew all my veggies from seed and this is the first time I've grown cabbages and lettuce, and also the first time I've seen this critter. Thanks again

DoubleDogFarm
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Here is your courier

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_White

I use a badminton racket.

Eric

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Kisal
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LMFAO Eric!

I can just envision you, running around your yard, whapping at the white butterflies with your badminton racket. i'll bet kids would have great fun helping protect the garden from the cabbage butterflies. :lol:
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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The larvae are aka cabbage worms. Here's a nice little article on cabbage worm control, which does include Eric's badmiton racquet technique (I bet you thought you made that one up, Eric!).

[url=https://yardener.com/YardenersPlantProblemSolver/DealingWithPestInsects/PestInsectsInTheVegetableGarden/CabbageWorm/ControlCabbageWormWithNoInsecticides]organic control of cabbage worm[/url]

The article doesn't mention diatomaceous earth and Bt (bacillus thuringiensis, sold as Thuricide or Dipel), but both of those are effective against the worms as well, though not the adults.

neubio, welcome to the wonderful world of gardening! You sound surprised that your veggies had pests on them since you started them from seed and know they didn't have any when you put them in your garden. That works fine if you you grow in a sealed environment starting with sterilized soil (although even starting my seeds indoors with theoretically sterilized potting medium, you'd be amazed how many fungus gnats and occasional other small critters manage to find them). But presuming your plants are now out in the real world, there are millions of flying, jumping, crawling critters that can get to them, from the air, from the soil, etc....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

neubio
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Well I feel silly :lol: I guess i should have elaborated a bit- Pieris rapae is supposedly non-existent/very very uncommon where I live, as are butterflies/moths in general, sadly :( . I did use "sterilized" seed starting material and grew them in a makeshift indoor greenhouse till they were juveniles.

Whats kinda funny is that some of the only regular critters we have around here are Trichogramma wasps; I think I'll try planting some daisies tommorow and get my racket ready just in case.

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Kisal
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I don't know what part of California you live in, but I think they're probably present wherever people grow members of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, as well as less common members such as mustard and rapeseed. Not everyone grows their plants from seeds, and insect eggs can easily be spread on plants. The University of California has an article about them:

https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r108301111.html
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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neubio wrote:. I did use "sterilized" seed starting material and grew them in a makeshift indoor greenhouse till they were juveniles.

.
Doesn't matter how sterile the environment they are started in is. Once you put them out in the real world, insects that love them WILL find them.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

vermontkingdom
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For many years I taught high school biology and often used these insects for various biological studies. The plants they love to eat grow rapidly and their insect life cycle is quite quick so you can easily propagate generations of them. I enjoyed working with them in the lab but, in my garden, I didn't appreciate their diet nor speed of reproducing. I keep my brassica beds covered with nets until the plants are quite mature and also use another physical mean to deter them. I use a butterfly net to capture and destroy the adults. My wife gets great joy watching this old man run around the back yard chasing and capturing. Additionally, it's probably good for my heart as well even though it may not be too good for assuring my neighbors that old guy next door isn't crazy.
"Good gardeners do not have green thumbs. They have brown knees, soiled hands and big hearts."

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