Have you been struggling with cabbage worms that never go away? You are not alone. Cabbage worms affect many cabbage growers farms and greenhouses.
Your efforts may never bear fruit if you get rid of the cabbage worms. To ensure you get abundant harvests, and quality cabbages, you need to know how to get rid of the cabbage worms.
But, first, let’s look at what the cabbage worm is…
What is a Cabbage Worm?
Cabbage worms are common pests that affect cabbages. The worm also feeds on a larger cabbage family that includes:
- Mustard greens
- Napa cabbage
- Collard greens
You can identify the worm by its smooth green larvae with yellow stripes. The worm later turns into yellow or white cabbage moths. This moth lays eggs on cabbage upperparts, underparts, and crevices of the leaves.
Once the egg develops, it becomes a caterpillar that feeds on leaves. The worm leaves holes in the leaves and defoliates the cabbages. Seedlings and head formations are the most vulnerable to damage leading to low harvests.
Fortunately, you can protect your greenhouse, farm, or your large-scale planting from worms. Below are the 5 easy ways you can get rid of cabbage worms.
5 easy ways you can get rid of cabbage worms
Prevention of Cabbage Worms
You should focus on preventing the incidences of pests in the first place. You do this by growing healthy cabbages. Ensure you provide the right growing environment like temperature, sunlight, nutrients, water, and necessary netting protection.
Healthy cabbage plants resist cabbage worms. You can ensure your cabbages are healthy by:
- Use healthy soil for your cabbage planting – Apply compost and other organic matter to keep your soil healthy.
- Use netting to form a barrier to prevent moths from laying eggs on the leaves of your cabbages.
- Plant different kinds of crops – a variety of plants will replicate the natural system that offers defense to cabbage worms.
- Interplant with crops that draw moth predators.
Another good method is to use companion planting. Companion planting is growing different plants together. This makes the plant productive because some plants have supportive characteristics such as growth, pest resistance, and nutrient needs.
You can combine your cabbages planting with crops that will keep the moth away from your cabbages. Let look at good examples of companion planting you can choose from.
- Mustard – The plants trap cabbage moths keeping the cabbage moths away from your plants
- Thyme – disguises the smell of those plants vulnerable to cabbage worms and moths
- Celery – the plant releases scents that keep the cabbage moth away.
- Chamomile- repulse cabbage moths and conceal the scent of cabbage family plants
- Borage insects- repels cabbage worms and moths and encourages insects that benefit your cabbages
Once you detect the signs of the cabbage worms you can use the following strategies to get rid of them:
If you have a few greenhouses or farms with cabbages you can handpick the caterpillar and moth. Check the top, bottom, and folded parts of leaves for eggs and caterpillars.
Pick off the caterpillars and drown them in soapy water. To pick the caterpillars and moths, do it in the morning or evening. This is because at this time the worms and moths are inactive and easy to pick
Hand-picking, however, is hard work if you have large farms. You pick from affected cabbages. This will prevent cabbage damage and disrupt plants from emitting chemicals to indicate there is a ready source of food.
Cabbage worms have many natural predators you can encourage, for example,
- Green lacewings,
Attracting a wide range of beneficial insects on your farm can help to lower the number of cabbage moths eating your vegetables.
Row covers Netting
If you don’t like sprays on your farm, you can use floating covers. These are for frost control but are light for bug netting. The row covers are installed on hoop frames and are easy to remove when not using them.
The netting is made to fit over the top of your cabbages. You can purchase your netting from your wholesaler, local store, or import from China.
Chemical Methods to Prevent Cabbage Worms
If everything seems not to work, do not give up. Go for the safe use of organic chemicals. Here are some of the recommended organic chemicals:
Spay the Neem Oil
Spray your cabbages with neem oil to smother soft-bodied worms and moths. Neem is a natural ingredient from neem trees with good insecticidal and fungicidal properties. Apply it in leaves and stems and it will repel worms and moths. The neem oil is environmentally friendly. You can source neem oil at your local store or online.
Spray with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis)
This is a popular way to control cabbage worms naturally on your farm or greenhouse. BT is a bacteria that occur naturally and is found in soil. Spraying it on your plants will kill the caterpillars that feed on them.
The good thing, it is toxic to only butterflies or moths. It makes them stop eating. Once BT is sprayed, it gets into their system when they eat leaves. The BT affects the digestive system of the caterpillar and it dies.
Applying BT weekly to any plants in the cabbage family keeps them free of caterpillar damage.
Thanks to many ways of getting rid of the cabbage worms from natural, netting, and chemicals, the growers get quality and plenty of carbage harvests.
You can quickly employ many methods and If you’d like to have yourself or your workers enlightened more about getting rid of cabbage worms, that’s where EyouAgro comes in handy.
EyouAgro is an international agriculture producer of protection textile covers. EyouAgro offers the best and effective preventive netting products for getting rid of cabbage worms. Our primary goal is to make farmers’ lives easier and assist them in taking care of their plants.