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Raise, Grow, Harvest, Eat, Repeat

A blog for growers, consumers, and backyard gardeners to grow, eat, and connect in the local food system.

Pest of the Week- Imported Cabbagworm

Pest of the Week: Imported Cabbageworm

I'm not entirely sure why I even decide to plan out which pest will be profiled when if I make a visit to University of Illinois Demonstration Garden, there will be a pest there waiting to be found and have a profile made on it. As luck would have it on this Monday, Imported Cabbageworm was found on two different cabbage heads and thus let it be known it was taking the title of this week's pest of the week.

Imported Cabbageworm is a light green colored worm that feeds on the leaves of the cabbage family. This includes cabbage, Brussel sprouts, lettuce, head lettuce, kohlrabi, and others. It can do serious damage when feeding on it and will start eating on the outside leaves and making it's way to the inner leaves and to the head of the cabbage. Because of the insect's color that sometimes fades into the color of the cabbage plants, it is hard to find; however, as with most insects, it leaves behind droppings. Where there are droppings, chances are there is also the insect as was the case today. The Imported cabbageworm is velvety green and has a faint yellow line that runs along the back of older larvae.

Source: UGA

There are other cabbageworms out there as well. These included the cabbage looper and diamondback moth larva. Cabbage looper is distinctive for it's "looping" like action as it moves while diamondback moth larva has black/brownish dots on it. Both will do equal damage as the imported cabbageworm will.

Cabbage Looper Source: University of Kentucky

Diamondback Moth Larva Source: Auburn

As far as control of these pests, the easiest control is hand picking as they are all slow moving and easy to remove and kill especially if you have a small number of cabbage plants. Because they are within the head of plant, sprays will be ineffective to reach them. You might also consider removing plant debris from the field either after the season has ended or early in the spring so as young pupa will not have a place to hide.


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