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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cabbage Caterpillars Destroying My Collard Greens

Photo of Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Small Cabbage Caterpillars have attacked my collard greens! The caterpillars have almost completely devoured one of my plants and the others are riddled with holes and covered in caterpillar eggs, larvae and caterpillar excrement! Yuck! Strangely enough I have not found any of these cabbage caterpillars on my crop of cabbage.

Photo of Small Cabbage Caterpillar blending in with the base of the leaf.

Photo of what I think may be cabbage aphids?

Photo of the waste that the small cabbage caterpillars have left behind.

I did some research on organic pest control. These are some of the methods suggested:
  • Physically remove caterpillars and drop them in a jar of kerosene.
  • Physically remove and crush caterpillar eggs and larvae
  • Physically remove affected leaves
  • Cover plants with insect-proof netting
  • Invite natural predators like birds to the garden by using bird feeders, bird baths, planting dense brush that provide birds security, etc.
  • Spray Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium that only kills caterpillars and not the predatory insects, above and below the leaves.
  • Use companion planning methods
I will have to figure out the right combination of methods to get this problem under control. Wish me luck!

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