The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly are among the most common pests in the domestic kitchen garden. They infest various types of cabbage and eat their leaves. If the amateur gardener does not recognize and combat the infestation in time, then the plant may die. We explain how you can drive away the cabbage white butterfly and fight its caterpillars.
Table of contents
- 1. banish cabbage white butterfly: profile and general information about the pest.
- 2. drive away cabbage white butterfly: Home remedies against the caterpillar
1. banish cabbage white butterfly: profile and general information about the pest
The small and the large cabbage white butterfly belong to the subfamily “Pierinae”. The two species are widespread in North America, Europe and Africa. As far as appearance is concerned, they are confusingly similar. The lesser cabbage white butterfly has white wings with a yellowish undertone, while the greater cabbage white butterfly is snow white. The two species can be easily identified by their black markings on the tip of the wings. In the article we will examine both the Greater and Lesser Cabbage White butterfly.
1.1 Cabbage white butterfly profile
- Cabbage white butterfly eggs: light yellow when laid, then change color to dark blue just before hatching. The butterfly lays all eggs together on the leaves of cabbage plants.
- Cabbage white butterfly caterpillars: greenish yellow in the small cabbage white butterfly and greenish yellow with a black head and dark green spots on the body in the large cabbage white butterfly. The small caterpillars stick together in the first caterpillar stage and infest cabbage leaves together. In the third stage, when they grow up to 4 cm long, leave the leaves of crops.
- Cabbage white butterfly pupae: The cabbage white butterfly reproduces two to three times a year. The pupae, which must survive the winter, can be found on walls and walls of houses. The caterpillars, which pupate during the warm season, remain on the stems of crops.
- Cabbage white butterflies: with yellowish wings, grow up to 6 cm long. Have black markings on the edge of the wings and black spots. Pollinating insects.
- Detect cabbage white butterfly infestation: Typical characteristics of a cabbage whitefly infestation are: large holes in cabbage leaves. Completely eaten cabbage leaves are a sure sign of a heavy infestation.
1.2 Combating cabbage white butterflies: The most important questions about the pest:
1. are cabbage white butterflies poisonous?
The cabbage white butterfly caterpillars were long considered poisonous. This is because the caterpillars absorb certain pollutants through their food. They have few enemies in nature, as they are considered inedible to most birds, wasps and beetles. They are not toxic to humans unless consumed in very large quantities. You can touch the caterpillars and the eggs even with your hand. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to eat the infested leaves.
2. when does the cabbage white butterfly pupate? The first caterpillars hatch already in the month of May. In the next three weeks they eat cabbage leaves and then pupate. The butterflies, which then fly in mid-June, lay eggs in the months of July-August. The second generation caterpillars are active from about mid-July to early September. Then they pupate and hatch only next spring.
3) How long does the cabbage white butterfly fly? In Central Europe the cabbage white butterfly reproduces twice, in good weather – three times a year. The first time is in spring (end of April or beginning of May), the second time is in midsummer (end of July or beginning of August). A third infestation is also possible in warm autumn weather.
2. drive away cabbage white butterfly: Home remedies against the caterpillar
In the home garden, you should not use pesticides. If you choose to grow organic, then you are doing something good for the environment and at the same time you can enjoy organic vegetables. But then what could you do against pests in the vegetable patch?
2.1. drive away cabbage white butterfly: Simple preventive measures:
Collect the eggs, the caterpillars and the pupae. This is a tedious task, but the results can be seen quickly. Do not forget to check the plant leaves once a week. It is also worth checking plant stems and the joints of natural stone walls for pupae at the beginning of spring.
Attract natural enemies: Bird feeders around the vegetable patch will attract goldfinches, sparrows and skylarks. All three bird species eat cabbage white butterfly caterpillars. You can also plant buckwheat and cornflowers around the vegetable bed and among the crops. Their flowers provide food for the ichneumon wasp, which lays its eggs in cabbage white butterfly caterpillars. The wasp larvae then emerge from the cabbage white butterfly caterpillar. It continues to live for some time, but is unable to pupate.
Use vegetable protection netting. It is best to collect all eggs and caterpillars at the first sign of infestation. Then drape the vegetable protection net over the plants and bury the ends of the net. This will prevent the butterflies from reaching the plants to lay eggs.
2.2. small cabbage white butterfly: drive away the caterpillars with home remedies
Stone meal: lightly dust the plants at the first sign of infestation. It is best to do this early in the morning.
Garlic powder: while the stone powder extracts the liquid from the caterpillars, the smell of the garlic powder keeps them away. Best to dust the plants early in the morning before the caterpillars come out.
Tomato leaves: put 500 g of fresh tomato leaves in a plastic bucket and pour 4 l of tap water over them. Let the leaves soak for 24 hours, then pour only the water into a spray bottle and spray the plants liberally.
It is not always possible to fight the caterpillars of cabbage white butterfly only home remedies. If really nothing else helps, then you can resort to a biological spray. Effective are products that contain the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis. They attack only pests that feed on the vegetable leaves.