Small Green Annoyances

The damage:

The culprit:

Lots of cabbage white caterpillars and a solitary baby snail.  Shame I don’t yet have any chooks to feed them to.

Actually although I have quite a few brassicas in the garden at the moment this is the only one with much damage.  The cabbage white butterflies don’t seem to be as prolific this year.  Either that or my attempts to get rid of their eggs, by regularly rubbing the underside of susceptible leaves, is working well.

Have you had problems with the butterflies this year?

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32 Responses to Small Green Annoyances

  1. Daphne says:

    I put all of my brassicas under a row cover. That being said I do have the kale that is in flower out. I don’t care if it gets eaten. It is just going to be pulled in a week. I left it to bloom so the bees could have it. Of course since I’m not eating it, there are no holes and just beautiful leaves all over it. I have seen a few white butterflies early on, but not recently. Maybe the weird weather has hurt them.

    • Liz says:

      My Kale has heaps of holes in it at the moment, but I’ve never seen a caterpillar on it so I’m not sure what’s causing my holes. I think the weather theory could well be right – they don’t seem to like extremes much in my experience.

  2. We use a insect netting over our brassicas and it doubles as a pigeon netting too. They look like the small white butterfly caterpillars at least they don’t lay clusters of eggs like the large white which we seem to have more of.

    • Liz says:

      I think we only get the one type here and they would have a wing span of about 5cm. Ahh well one of the best things about winter is that they go away for awhile.

  3. Mark Willis says:

    I have hardly seen any butterflies yet this year. It’s been too cold for them. I usually net my brassicas too, which seems to work pretty well.

  4. L says:

    I’ve had (surprisingly) almost no issues at all, despite seeing the butterflies fluttering around quite often. The temperature has been very inconsistent though – I see the butterflies on the warm days, then we get a cold snap, so maybe that’s what’s keeping them at bay? No idea really!

  5. Dave says:

    Lots of white cabbage butterflies here. I use Bt or neem oil to control them. That’s the easiest way for me to control them.

    • Liz says:

      I really should try some of the organic remedies. I have a tendency to find pests but not actually do that much about getting rid of them….

  6. My biggest trouble is with slugs and squash vine borers right now. But I am not growing any brassicas.

  7. Steve Cope says:

    We have used netting but the moth simply flutters in where it can see an opening. The caterpillars are prolific but we keep them at bay with a pyrethrum/chillie spray. I believe cayenne pepper is also very effective.

    • Liz says:

      I haven’t tried chilli spray before. I do like the idea of it though. I should brew up a batch and see how well it works for me.

  8. Nina says:

    My Brussel sprouts are wearing the same clothes, Liz. I don’t get home from work until after dark these days so I don’t get much opportunity to pick off the caterpillars. I had heaps of white cabbage butterflies this year. I think they enjoy the company of the whitefly!

    I have two 6 month-old chooks (unfortunately No. 3 recently came to an untimely end) and the first time I threw them a couple of caterpillars, they looked at me suspiciously and at the caterpillars even more so. They’ve got the hang of it now. Send yours down, I’m sure my girls will enjoy them.

    • Liz says:

      We are currently building a chook run – although the build is proofing somewhat more difficult than I envisaged so hopefully by Spring I will have my own girls to deal with unwanted insects.

      • Nina says:

        Oh, you’ll love ‘em! I had chooks when I was young (a loong time ago) and then when my own kids were young and I’ve been wanting them again, ever since. They are such time-wasters, you can watch them for hours. Not being particularly handy, I bought a prefab coop on-line which is pretty small but I let them free-range whenever I can. They have a penchant for scratching at and nestling into the dog’s padded bed on the porch. Bird brain springs to mind!

        • Liz says:

          We had them when I was a kid too. I suspect we should have bought a coop too as the construction is not going that well….

  9. Hi Liz,

    Let’s hope you found most of them…
    At the moment not many butterflies here-the weather is confusing them aswell!!

  10. Jo says:

    They certainly make short work of brassicas, don’t they? I lost most of my brassica seedlings to slugs. I hadn’t even got round to planting them out before they were tucking in.

  11. There were lots of them here until very recently when the cooler weather arrived. I’ve definitely noticed that they only come out when it’s sunny. I’ve tried broken up eggshells around the plants which are supposed to look like other moths so they stay away, but really the only solution is to net them I think. (And my chooks go absolutely nuts for the catepillars!!)

  12. Jodie says:

    Potential bad news re. the chooks- I found a whole pile of those exact caterpillars on my tuscan kale last year- the chooks had a feeding frenzy (on the grubs -not the Kale- although they had later feeding frenzies on the kale which produced similar results)- the next day they came back and when presented with more of the same refused to touch them and have refused that kind of caterpillar from that point on! weirdly they love green caterpillars on the beans and this year I haven’t been able to find enough of them to satisfy the expectant looks when I head over in that direction. I wonder if it must be related to either species of caterpillar or something in the way they digest the particular food to give upset tummys to chooks??

    • Liz says:

      Devastating….they aren’t as silly as you’d think are they? Either the caterpillars for making themelves unpalatable or the chooks for remembering the reaction they caused. If only I was similarly enlightened about red wine….

  13. Julie says:

    Those cabbage caterpillars look all too familiar. I’ve been picking them off my brassicas and dunking them in soapy water. Most of my brassicas are bolting because our spring was way too hot and dry, so it’s not a big deal. I do find it amazing we have the same pests in completely different parts of the world!

  14. Kirsty says:

    not many here, getting too cold for them, there were plenty over summer though, I usually give the brassicas a break over summer because I hate finding the grubs in my dinner, they’re so hard to find sometimes.

  15. Dave says:

    Last year they were terrible and I had my brassicas covered most of the season, which is a bit of an annoyance itself. And the cabbage moths persisted into October after some fairly cold weather, so they are pretty hardy. This year I have so far seen only one here and there, and none at all this very warm weekend. Our weird weather seems to have confused them. But the extension service tells us we are hundreds of degree days ahead of last year and a bug Armageddon is about to be unleashed on our gardens. So I’m getting ready for battle and covering what I can.

    • Liz says:

      I do hope you avoid complete Armageddon, or if it arrives its nice bugs. Still the end of our drought we’ve had plagues of locusts and butterflies. The locusts being a huge problem for the farmers, the butterflies troubling no one at all (fortunately they weren’t cabbage whites).

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