Thursday, June 22, 2017

Something is eating my Cabbage

            Those of you growing any of the “Cole” crops in your gardens (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts) might be wondering why all the interest in your garden at this time by all those white butterflies?

            The clue to their activity is in their name, Cabbage Butterfly; and they could have been better named the Coleslaw Butterfly for they love all the stuff that goes in it.

            What you are seeing are the females; what they are doing is laying a single egg on your vegetable plant each time they land, and they do it very quickly.

            This little bugger quickly hatches into a caterpillar with a horrendous appetite. He and his many brothers, sisters, and cousins begin to devourer your salad bowl.

            You have two choices of eradication, chemical or organic; but in my estimation you have only one, organic. I say this not only because it is one less pesticide you will be consuming, but because it works better than the chemical alternative. It is labeled as BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) and it kills cabbage butterfly caterpillars.

            Typically it comes in a liquid concentrate and you mix it up in a sprayer. Hopefully the day you see the infestation, and do something about it, the weather will be dry and rain free for a few days. Make sure you spray tops and bottoms of the leaves just in case it does rain to stretch out its effectiveness.

            Unlike the chemical pesticide that attacks the nervous system, BTs go after the digestive system. This is key, for all nervous systems are electrical and similar whether you are bug, animal, or human.  However the digestion process in insects is totally different to us; BTs are tailored to the destruction of the bug’s gut not ours.

            This unfortunately will not be a onetime spray, but then neither would the chemical. I have also found that telling the kids that I will give them a nickel for every cabbage butterfly carcass they lay at my feet greatly thins out the herd. But tell them though that both sets of wings need to be accounted for, no cash for just one set.

            If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog

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