Cabbage White Butterfly describes two butterfly species; Large Cabbage Whites [Pieris brassicae] and Small Cabbage Whites [Pieris rapae]. Both produce caterpillars that feed and damage plants such as Cabbages and other brassicas.
Large Cabbage White caterpillars are quite distinctive with yellow and black markings. They can be quite large in size, up to 4-5cm and feed on leaves making irregular sized holes and mainly on the outer leaves. Their favourite plant targets are ; Cabbages and most brassica plants, Nasturtiums and Turnips. They can produce multiple generations a year and tend to lay eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves.
Small Cabbage White caterpillars are smaller and pale green in colour and up to 3cm in length. They will feed on outer leaves and bore into the centre of plants and feed mainly at night. Their favourite plant targets are; Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Radishes, Brocoli, Nasturtiums and other ornamental plants. They lay individual eggs on the underside of leaves.
How to prevent and control Cabbage white damage
Covering plants with netting and fleece will reduce some egg laying but can restrict access and reduce air movement, which may lead to plants becoming more disease prone. Keeping plants healthy is always a good idea, as it makes them more resitant to pest and disease attack. Calcium provides a multi functional boost to plants , reducing plant diseases and has been shown to make plants less attractive to some pests such as Cabbage White Butterflies. Regular applications of liquid calcium such as CALCIUM BOOST will enhance plant health and reduce pest attack. CALCIUM BOOST is safe to use on edible plants and does not leave visible residues.
If Cabbage White caterpillars are present on plants, first try to physically remove but of this is not possible, apply CATERPILLAR KILLER nematodes directly onto the caterpillars. The nematodes enter and kill the caterpillars and provide a safe and natural way to kill pests on edible plants, as they are harmless to humans.