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12/09/2008 at 12:24
If you are vigilant you can spot the clusters of yellow eggs on the leaves; squashing them is more humane and less messy!
12/09/2008 at 20:20
I have to cast doubt on your method, the cabbage whites are foul tasting to birds both as caterpillars and butterflies. There is a theory that the Brimstone which is the first butterfly to herald spring survives because the birds mistake it for the foul tasting cabbage whites! If there are brassicas or even radishes near the path then the larger caterpillars will crawl back on to them and continue their life cycle.

I had to resort to 'deris plus' which gave me a break from caterpillar picking and also sorted the whitefly. A fine mesh is the only certain answer however on the allotments many plotholders just leave there crops to be consumed thus exacerbating the problem by allowing the cabbage white populations to increase. The same goes for potato blight if people just leave the haulms to propagate spores. Gardeners should look after their crops or compost them?

14/09/2008 at 10:33
We love to see the the caterpillars and get round the problem by having a patch of nasturtiums in the corner which both cabbage whites love and we dislike. All butterflies need a helping hand.
14/09/2008 at 19:28
I know exactly how you feel - I've had brassicas stripped to skeletons on numerous occasions. But not this year! - I grew them in a raised bed and fixed a butterfly-proof net around them - just like the bird protection for my straw, and it worked! I've been keeping a close eye on the plants and so far have found just five caterpillars (Heaven knows how they got in!). So this year it's home-grown sprouts for Christmas, for the first time in years.

The reason I found this blog was that I was Googling for information about when the Cabbage White butterfly stops laying eggs - i.e. when can I remove my netting?! - the plants are trying to burst out! Can anyone advise?

17/09/2008 at 10:05
Thanks to all the above!! I took on my allotment last year and seem to have only produced broccoli to feed the caterpillars :-( Although I started the season with nets over all the brassicas the broccoli grew too tall and found such a pain every time I wanted to weed. I WILL definitely be keeping netting on next year and am going to try tying canes along the long edge of the nets as a weight and to ease access when i need to open the bed up for weeding. As I am one of the girlies that can not yet pluck up the courage to pick through them, I am Hopeful there is still plenty of other ideas for not spraying.
17/09/2008 at 10:05
Hereisabee is right in thinking that large white caterpillars are distasteful to birds. Even though some humans like the taste of cabbage, the uncooked leaves contain glucoseinolate toxins which are poisonous to most animals. The caterpillars of the large white butterfly are not only able to metabolize the toxins, they actively sequester the main one, called sinigrin and store in their bodies making them toxic to predators. This is why they feed brazenly and gregariously, openly advertising (even flaunting) their presence. The caterpillar of the small white, on the other hand, does not use this defence, and is readily eaten by any birds lucky enough to find it. Instead it relies on its subtle green colour to camouflage it against the midribs of the leaves.
17/09/2008 at 14:25
I haven't grown cabbage or cauli or brocolli or sprouts. The pesky cw caterpillars have destroyed my onion leaves instead (and radishes).
18/09/2008 at 22:02
As I can't bring myself to kill the cabbage white caterpillars on my brassicas, I pick them off, put them in a large jar with some leaves and then set them free up the hills, in the woods or in wildlife areas when I'm walking the dog (obviously not near crops/gardens). I do the same with slugs and snails too.
19/09/2008 at 12:25
I grow nasturtiums in our back yard, for decoration and addition to salads. This year they were really hammered by Large White caterpillars, which have since pupated - my contribution to wildlife in central Portsmouth! The nasturtiums are now recovering, & still flowering beautifully. One year I tried growing nasturtiums in our 'front garden' - two wall baskets. The butterflies found them there too. Unfortunately, the plants being smaller, they didn't survive.
19/09/2008 at 19:46
i had my swede and cabbage covered with enviromesh and the little wotsits still managed to get in. Just how do they do it? now just picking off caterpillars and squashing eggs daily. at least as its getting cold they should stop soon.
23/09/2008 at 16:48
Don't know if it is any consolation, but something to feel smug about.....went to Wisley on Friday morning, glorious sunshine and veritable plagues of whitefly hovering over the brussel sprouts....most satisfactory!
25/09/2008 at 20:25
I cover my greens with fleece it not only keeps off the cabbage whites but also birds, also is then available for the spring frost covering one cost for two jobs.
06/10/2008 at 23:09
I tried making a solution of rhubarb leaves (as mentioned by Maaike)to control blackfly/whitefly etc - think I must have got the proportions wrong - certainly got rid of the pests, but seriously scorched the leaves on my cardoon!!
23/10/2008 at 20:46
My early sprouting brocolli (ESB) was hit hard. I had nettig over them...but the gauge was too big so the butterflies got in! However, I continued squashing as much as possible and I am glad to say they've made a great recovery. I also have Romanesco Brocilli and they where not as badly hit as the ESB...though they haven't produced decent sized curds...Netx yaer I will use a much finer netting. Don't give up. As long as they don't get munching on the heart of the plant they should recover.
26/02/2009 at 18:21
I started gardening last year and was amazed to see just how quickly all of the cabbe type plants were eaten by caterpillars.This year I am building some wooden frames and will be covering them with some sort of netting. Question : What mesh size is needed to keep butterflies out ? 15 * 15 mm. and 20 * 20 mm. ones seem to be readily available. One supplier of the 7 * 7 mm. mesh seems to be out of stock for at least a couple more weeks. Thanks, Allen
26/02/2009 at 18:23
I started gardening last year and was amazed to see just how quickly all of the cabbe type plants were eaten by caterpillars.This year I am building some wooden frames and will be covering them with some sort of netting. Question : What mesh size is needed to keep butterflies out ? 15 * 15 mm. and 20 * 20 mm. ones seem to be readily available. One supplier of the 7 * 7 mm. mesh seems to be out of stock for at least a couple more weeks. My email address is allenfcook@blueyonder.co.uk
07/03/2009 at 16:28
I FIND THAT BRINGING MY GRANDSON TO MY GARDEN IS THE ONLY WAY TO RID MYSELF OF THOSE PESKY CATERPILLARS, HE SPENDS ALL DAY COLLECTING THEM.THE ONLY PROBLEM IS HE ONLY VISITS EVERY OTHER WEEK.
18/06/2009 at 11:17
I planted some white broccoli late autumn/ early last winter, they haven't given me any broccoli. Should i scrap it now? I'm not sure if the spot was too shady over winter, it was very slow to grow but since spring has developed beautiful lush foliage so i got my hopes up and left it to see what happens, but it still hasn't produced anything and i think maybe i could use the space for my squash which are in pots waiting for a permanent home! Also, any thoughts on whether it's a good idea to get a rescued hedgehog in my garden or will they eat lots of worms as well slugs (& snails?) ?
24/08/2009 at 07:25
We got back from holiday to find the russian kale covered with cabbage white catterpillars and it was very upsetting because I just love catterpillars! I want to pick them off and take them all to the nature reserve which is just across the road, full of all sorts of plants including nettles, so my question is...does anybody know what else the cw catterpillars can feed on besides barasicas? I would love to see your replies please asap !!
20/09/2009 at 19:27
Just seen some of these creatures in my alotments. Im now on the web looking for some info on them. If you know any good info please reply asap :) Thanks
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