Imported Cabbageworms

Imported Cabbageworms

These velvety, light green caterpillars are similar to cabbage loopers (see page 26) in size, but more conventional in gait. Older caterpillars have faint yellow stripes.

Target: Primarily cole crops.

Damage: Large, irregular holes are chewed in leaves, and the parts that aren’t eaten are contaminated with dark green excrement. Cabbage heads are tunneled.

Life cycle: White butterflies with black-tipped wings lay bullet-shaped, ridged yellow eggs on leaf undersides. After feeding for 2 weeks or so, the caterpillars pupate on plants, below ground, or on fences or other structures. The pest breeds all year long in mild regions, but may overwinter as pupae in cold climates. There are three to six generations a year.

Notes: When handpicking imported cabbage-worms, look carefully; they’re very difficult to spot.

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