Cutworms, imported cabbageworms, cabbage loopers, diamondback moth larvae, and cross-striped cabbage worms can each cause substantial damage to cabbage. If you don’t get the first infestation under control, you could end up losing your entire crops!
There are many ways to get rid of and prevent cabbage worms. Below are some ideas that are easy, affordable, and that works!
How To Identify Cabbage Worms?
Cabbage worms have a velvety green color and almost invisible yellow stripes. If you have cabbage worms on your crops, you’ll also notice holes in the cabbage leaves and dark excrement on them.
Organic Ways To Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms
The best way to get rid of cabbage worms is by manually removing them from your crops. If this grosses you out, try one of these methods instead:
Use Corn Meal
You can wet your cabbage and sprinkle cornmeal on them to get rid of cabbage worms. The worms will eat the cornmeal, swell up, and die.
Use a Water and Soap Spray
Mix about one gallon of water with 4 tablespoons of liquid soap. You can include a few drops of essential oil or a cup of vinegar too. If you spray this solution on and around your cabbage plants, it’ll repel and kill the cabbage worms.
Chickens love eating cabbage worms. If you have an infestation, sending poultry into your veggie garden will help you get rid of it. Chickens will also prevent most worms from reaching your garden in the first place.
Other Ways To Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms
There are many things you can do to prevent cabbage worms from getting to or on your cabbage crops.
Use Row Covers
You can place a removable row cover over your cabbage plants to protect them from cabbage worms. Once your plants are bigger and more pest-resistant, you can remove these again. The row cover will also help protect small plants against frost.
Attract Beneficial Insects
Another natural way to prevent cabbage worms and get rid of the few that intrudes is by attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Ladybugs are a first choice, and you can purchase them online to populate your garden. If you plant attractive plants, it’ll lure ladybugs to your garden.
Plant Benficial Flowers
Many plants and herbs repel cabbage worms. You should plant these close to your cabbages if you want them to work. I suggest planting one row of cabbage, and one row of your chosen companion plant. You can choose between marigolds, tomato, sage, thyme, peppermint, and sansy.
Cabbage Worm Life Cycle
If you understand the life cycle of a cabbage worm, you’ll have a better chance of getting rid of them and future infestations.
Cabbage worms hibernate through the cold and emerge as adults when it gets sunny. Female butterflies will lay eggs shortly after emerging. They lay their eggs on the undersides of cabbage leaves where you won’t easily notice it. The baby worms will emerge and start eating your cabbage leaves to grow. The eggs can be white, yellow, or green.
Tiny cabbage worms mature in about 3 or 4 weeks. This is when they stop eating and pupate. The cocoons they form also sit on the underside of the cabbage leaves. New adults that lay eggs will emerge in about 10 days.
These butterflies may look pretty and harmless, but once you understand what they’re doing, you won’t think so anymore. If you don’t get rid of the first cabbage worms, you can end up with multiple infestations in a season.
Cabbage Worm Origin
You might think your garden is safe if you don’t see any cabbage worms on your cabbage. However, this isn’t the case. Since mature cabbage worms (butterflies) can fly, they can come from anywhere. Cabbage is one of their main host plants, so they’ll immediately be attracted to this crop.
If you don’t keep a close eye on your cabbage plants and check the underside of their leaves too, you might suddenly see an infestatio emerge that you didn’t think was there.
Cabbage worms can leave big holes in your cabbage leaves. At their worst, they can devour an entire plant! You might feel sorry for killing these worms since they aren’t poisonous, but the damage they cause could destroy all your crops.
Getting rid of cabbage worms can be tricky. Since their eggs are almost invisible, you might only spot them when they start emerging. The best thing to do is push your frustrations aside and use the first method that appeals to you. It’s going to be trial and error, but you’ll win if you stay consistent.
Prevention is always better than figuring out a solution, so plant companion plants that repel cabbage worms and attract beneficial insects from the start!