How to Get Rid of Cabbage Worms from Vegetable Patches
Cabbage worms are common pests in the garden that can be destructive to vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. In this article, you can learn some natural methods of killing cabbage worms in your vegetable patch.
The cabbage worms can be identified by their velvety green appearance and the many short hair found on their side and back. As adults, they become white butterflies with a few black spots on their wings. These butterflies are typically called cabbage whites. If you are growing some crops in your backyard and start to see signs of cabbage worms then it is vital to handle the pest infestation as soon as possible. They become more destructive as they grow and can chew large irregular holes on the outside leaves of vegetables like cabbage and kale.
1. Introduce Beneficial Insects
Not all insects are bad. There are beneficial insects that will help you eradicate the cabbage worms in your garden without doing any harmful damage to the actual crops. Against pests like cabbage worms, you could consider beneficial insects like damsel bugs and ground beetles. If you are lucky, these predators may be native to your area so it would just be a matter of making your garden an attractive environment for them to roam around in.
2. Companion Planting
Another interesting way to deter cabbage worms is to use a method called companion planting. This is when you also grow plants that cabbage worms hate like onions, garlic, and rosemary. Plant them around your cabbages, kale, and cauliflower to deter the caterpillars from approaching your vegetable patch. Keep in mind that companion planting could work hand-in-hand with beneficial insects. For example, spearmint is one of those herbs that deters cabbage worms, but also serves the purpose of attracting natural predators like damsel bugs. Kill two birds with one stone by using this natural pest control method.
3. Setting up a Barrier
Typically, the most effective way of controlling any pests is prevention. In the case of cabbage worms, one way of stopping the adult butterflies from laying their eggs in your vegetable patch is to cover your vegetable patch with some lightweight netting. Obviously, this isn’t as easy for gardeners who manage a larger plot of land but this is an effective way of controlling the caterpillar population in your garden. Cabbage whites typically start laying their eggs in spring so make sure you have the barrier set up before then.
4. Hand Pick Them
This should be something that you do whenever you spend time in the vegetable bed. Put in the effort to hand pick any cabbage worms you come across on your vegetable crops. This is most effective if you are only dealing with a small population of cabbage worms.
5. DIY Natural Sprays
You can also make your own sprays using natural ingredients. Solutions that have worked for gardeners in the past include garlic oil spray and citrus spray. To make the garlic oil spray, soak one bulb of minced garlic for 24 hours and mix the resulting solution with 2 cups of water. For the citrus spray, grind up some citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits then soak them in water overnight. Once the solutions are ready, apply them to the leaf surface of the plants.
6. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is basically fine powder made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplanktons. Diatoomaceous Earth can be an effective pest control method as it can puncture the bodies of soft-bodied insects like the cabbage worm. Sprinkle some around your plants and you should be able to see some fair results. Click here to learn about the diatomaceous earth products available in the market.
As you can see, there are several natural remedies you could use without having to resort to chemical pesticide to get rid of cabbage worms. Give these a try and share any further tips you may have on getting rid of these annoying pests.