How to Spot, Treat and Prevent These Pests

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Whether you are new to gardening or an experienced enthusiast, you are probably familiar with a super common insect moth: the dreaded Cabbage Looper.

They are not dangerous, but they are fierce. They love most of the plants in your botanical garden, especially the leafy greens. They will eat up your hard work and harm your plants.

Want to know how to spot them and get rid of them? This guide will help.

What are Cabbage Loopers?

Cabbage loopers are common worldwide, and although they damage a lot of plants, they do not completely ruin crops. However, the amount of your crop will be affected.

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Cabbage Loopers (Trichoplasia ni) Are sometimes referred to as inchworms, as they move in a specific way to push one end of their body toward the other in a looping motion as they go.

When they are an inch long green caterpillar, you will notice them in their larval stage. They can eat up to three times their body weight in a day, and where there is one, there are always too many.

They are an off-white moth with a ‘Y’ shape or small black dots on each wing in their adult stage. They run from one plant to another, laying eggs, which you can see as small white dots on the underside of the leaf.

In inclement weather, on hot summer days your botanical garden, lawn and orchard will see many moths to work on.

Plants are often eaten by cabbage looper

Cabbage loopers love cruciferous plants so much that some gardeners limit these plants to their gardens to avoid this common pest.

However, they also love plants not in the crucifier family, so don’t relax because there are no broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower in your veggie patch.

The Plants They Love:

Identifying Cabbage Loopers and Their Disadvantages

These pests are very easy to identify. They are light green and have a series of thin white lines or dots on their body. But other caterpillars may also look like this.

You can make sure that the caterpillars move in their specific motion to loop your body with the plant if you have them.

Cabbage loopers feed on the underside of the leaf and you will often see irregular holes covering the young and developing leaves.

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Occasionally you will see small piles of green and brown pellets where their excreta is formed, but this is harder to spot than other obvious signs.

Cabbage and cauliflower heads will usually be trapped in growth when attacked by cabbage loopers.

Cabbage loopers life cycle

Understanding the life cycle of garden pests like cabbage loopers helps you to inhibit their activity in your vegetable patch.

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The moths emerge in the spring after overwintering in a cocoon. In hot areas, you can only see them active at night. In warmer areas, they are often busy during the day.

The moths lay pale yellow or white eggs on the underside of leaves and foliage. They are easily seen with the naked eye.

The eggs develop fully in about four weeks before the larvae (or caterpillar) hatch in about four days. This is their disastrous state where they eat three times their body weight per day. The last week is his most active eating phase.

The caterpillar emerges as moths in about 10 days, in white silk cocoons on the underside of the leaves.

If you do not interrupt them, you can see several generations of cabbage in one growing season.

How to stop and control cabbage loopers

Stopping cabbage loopers before they become too large in number. They are so common that it is unlikely that you will completely wipe them out, so aim to keep their population as low as possible.

Many gardeners will tolerate the first generation of cabbage loopers and the slight damage they cause. But as it becomes more and more visible, you will find that you have to work to avoid the decay of many of your food crops.

  • If you have the time, keep an eye on your cruciferous plants and select them by hand. This method requires that you pay attention and remove the caterpillar as soon as you see them. You also need to brush to prevent hatching.
  • If you prefer natural methods than chemical methods, encourage birds in your garden. They love fat, juicy cabbage loopers.
  • Encourage insects enjoying the meal over cabbage loopers. Ladybugs are particularly skilled at this. Also encourage lacewing, spiders and wasps. Lizards and Todd Loopers will also have to chew.
  • Use the pheromone trap to find out when the moths become active. Different styles are available, so talk to your local garden center and get advice on what works best in your area.
  • Use floating row cover. Some gardeners like this work very much. They should be prevented from laying eggs on moths.
  • There are soil bacteria that are effective against cabbage loops, so consider these as part of your weapon. Bacillus thuringiensis Available in most areas and can be sprayed early in the season or when you begin to see early symptoms.
  • My favorite method is regular sprinkling of neem oil. This is an organic approach that works on many other plants as well. Neem oil is a long-term method, not instantaneous knock.
  • Pyrethrum can be added to neem oil for that initial hit to rid your garden of cabbage loopers or to slow them down.

Use plants to prevent cabbage loopers

Like all insects, cabbage loops are repelled by some plants. I have had success with using plants as natural repellents, and it sure beats using chemicals.

Try to grow these plants among your cruciferous vegetables:

  • Garlic
  • onion
  • carom flowers
  • Hermit
  • Borage
  • Tanzi

Make sure you rotate the plants you are using as natural repellents. The more you sow them, the better they work.

To the soil

Always till soil between planting. You need to use every opportunity to disrupt the life cycle of the cabbage looper.

Filling the soil irritates any eggs or pupa.

Remove debris

Once again, any disruption to the life cycle is an effective way to control the cabbage looper, and contributes to the removal of garden debris.

Often the pupa will overwinter in the garden debris, so removing it breaks the link.

The end of the cabbage loopers is the popular stage when they form a silky white cocoon on the underside of the leaves, or elsewhere they feel sheltered.

If you remove their ability to reduce as much as possible, you severely limit their overall number.

Spray your own homemade

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Try making some garlic and peppermint homemade pesticide sprays. This spray goes a long way to control the cabbage looper population. It is natural and easy to make.

  • Two heads of garlic (each clove separated and peeled)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups mint leaves
  • 12 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
  • 2 squats of biodegradable dishwashing liquid

Add all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the solid pieces become small.

Add to a pot and heat to a boil point. Leave the mixture to cool overnight to allow it to stand.

In the morning, strain into a spray bottle and spray your plants. It can be used if you know whether you have cabbage loopers. This takes them to other gardens, and it prevents them from establishing themselves.

How to control a serious infection

Sometimes cabbage loopers will sneak up on you, and before you know it, they are everywhere.

Most of the techniques described in this article take a combined and sustained effort to counter them. For a serious infection, try a combination of the following:


If you use commercial sprays, I think organic pyrethrin works well. This is a knockdown spray that works immediately because you don’t have to wait to interrupt the life cycle of the insect.

diatomaceous earth

This can work well if you can manage to place it on and around the plants, but remember that you will have to reapply if it rains or if you take water from overhead.

If DT is not something you already use for other garden applications, add it as one of the weapons against cabbage loopers.

neem oil

As I have already mentioned, neem oil is one of my favorite sprays to use in the garden. It is natural, safe, and is used in many products, from shampoo to toothpaste.

Neem oil disrupts the life cycle of many garden pests and even helps prevent disease, bacteria and many other plant issues.

It is bee-friendly, but I still recommend using it in the early evening or early evening when the bees have gone to bed for the night.

Rowe Covers

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If the moths cannot meet your plants, they cannot lay eggs that will turn into caterpillars that will eventually feed on your small fish. Row cover will not negatively affect the garden and will be effective if used properly.

Slowdown on Cabbage Loopers

If you are like me and prefer a natural and chemical free garden, then you have to accept a little insect damage.

The problem with cabbage loopers is that if you don’t address the problem, it grows faster every day, and before you know it, they are eating everything in your garden that you expected to eat. Were.

The moths swell and lay their eggs everywhere and capture the caterpillar.

As soon as you see an egg on the underside of the leaves, you should take action.

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