Cabbage Moth Control
As winter arrives in the Southern Hemisphere, brassicas begin popping up in home veggie gardens. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale and bok choy are all hardy winter veg, but unfortunately, they’re also a staple to some destructive pests. Cabbage Moths beeline to the succulent leaves (who can blame them!!) and their offspring can wreak havoc overnight! An infestation of green cabbage caterpillars can decimate a season’s hard work. Luckily, there are a number of organic preventative methods that will help with cabbage moth control and keep your plants happy and healthy!
- Manually remove eggs
Luckily, cabbage moth eggs are easy to identify and remove. The eggs will be sporadically and individually placed around the leaves — clusters of eggs could be a beneficial insect, such as lady beetles, so best to leave these be. Each morning, go out and gently brush each side of your brassica leaves to remove unwanted eggs. You may even catch a caterpillar or two, and the magpies will greatly appreciate the snack!
- Plant companions and cabbage moth decoys.
There are few plants that cabbage moth love more than brassicas! Planting these around the garden will draw cabbage moths away from your edibles. Some of these include nasturtium, dill and mustard. Land cress is also a moth favourite, however, the foliage is highly toxic to caterpillars, which stops an infestation in its tracks! Planting strong-scented herbs intermittently around your patch will also assist in deterring moths from laying. Try planting rosemary, marigold, tansy, thyme, lavender or sage.
- Attract beneficial insects and birds.
Planting plants such as yarrow and buckwheat will attract beneficial insects that love to snack on caterpillar larvae. Adding in a few birdbaths or a feeder will encourage birds to come and forage around your garden.
- A homemade spray.
Two versions of the spray have been successful, and depend on your taste. A simple garlic and chilli tea works on an array of pests. Simply boil water, add garlic and birdseye chillies and steep. Once cool, add a few drops of non-toxic dish soap and put in a spray bottle. Alternatively, mix plain flour and water until it forms a paste, then add more water until it will spray through the nozzle of your bottle. Apply this directly to the plants, and it will act as a glue and suffocate the caterpillars.
- Create cabbage moth ‘scarecrows’.
Cabbage moths are territorial and will avoid laying on plants that are clearly occupied by other cabbage moths. Placing fake moths around the garden will decrease the amount of laying. We’ve made a Cabbage Moth Scarecrow sheet you can use.
Learn more organic gardening tips in our Organic Gardening Facebook group. Happy gardening!