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

SAVE 20%

Save 20% on veg seeds

Stock up your seed stash with a 20 per cent saving on all veg seeds at Dobies. Simply enter the offer code at checkout to claim your discount, until 31 August, 2017.

Use code: GW817

Order now

Offer

Spring bedding 2 for 1

Buy any two trays of 20 spring bedding plants and get the cheapest free. Choose from a lovely selection of varieties, including pansies, primulas, wallflowers and more. Simply enter the offer code at checkout to claim your discount.

Use code: F17GWSEP

Order now

Offer

Claim 40 free pansies

Brighten your spring borders and containers with these cheery bedding plants. Add 12 pansy ‘Cool Wave’ to your basket and receive 40 pansy ‘Frizzle Sizzle’ (worth £14.99) free with your order.

Use code: RGW127

Order now