Brassica broccoli crop pest cabbage white butterfly feeding on curly kale leaves

Cabbage white caterpillars

Time to act:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

The caterpillars of both the small and large cabbage white butterflies are are the two culprits. The first is pale green with a body up to 2.5cm long, the second is bigger at 4cm and is yellow with black markings. The adult butterflies lay eggs at different times: the small from February to April and again in late-summer, the large in April and May. This means the caterpillars can be busily munching away from early spring through to autumn.

Symptoms

Caterpillars eating holes in the outer and inner leaves of brassicas, with nasturtiums also being attacked.

Find it on

brassicas and nasturtiums

Advertisement

Organic

Cover plants with horticultural fleece to prevent butterflies reaching the leaves. Check plants regularly and pick off any caterpillars that do make it through. Spray young caterpillars as they hatch with the biological control Steinernema carpcapse.

Chemical

With heavy infestations, use an insecticide based on pyrethrum (only use once a season on crops).

Advertisement

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Elephant hawk moth

Flea beetle

Pollen beetles

Red spider mites

Related offers

Offer

3 for 2, plus free seeds

Order any three packs of veg plants from a special selection at Mr Fothergill's and the cheapest will be free. Plus, you'll also receive a collection of herb seeds (worth over £15) free with your order.

Use code: GWF17MAR

Order now

SAVE 20%

Save 20% on fruit trees

Save 20 per cent on this collection of three cordon fruit trees, including cherry, plum and apple. Or, save 15 per cent when you buy a single tree.

Order now

FREE P&P

Subscriber only content

Petunia 'Queen of Hearts'

Be one of the first to grow this brand new variety from Thompson & Morgan. Save £5 when you buy 10 plants for just £14.98, plus free p&p.

Unlock now