Cabbage white caterpillars

Cabbage white caterpillars

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Time to act
Time to act

Do not Time to act in January

Do not Time to act in February

Do Time to act in March

Do Time to act in April

Do Time to act in May

Do Time to act in June

Do Time to act in July

Do Time to act in August

Do Time to act in September

Do Time to act in October

Do Time to act in November

Do not Time to act in December

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.

Advertisement

Symptoms

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

Find it on

brassicas and nasturtiums

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.

Advertisement

Chemical

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