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Cabbage Butterfly Eggs: Squish’m Young!

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Cabbage butterfly eggs lead to destroyed crops!

Cabbage butterfly eggs are laid by adult white butterflies. Cabbage moth is a misnomer! These butterflies also have two black dots on each wing.

Cabbage Butterfly photo

This white butterfly with two black dots on each wing is not a moth. She flies in the daylight, even in cool, damp weather, seeking out your cabbage patch where she will lay hungry cabbage butterfly eggs.

While they may look like moths, these are actually butterflies!

What time of year do cabbage butterflies lay their eggs?

These white butterflies are tough. In fact, we’ve seen them flying on cold, rainy days in very early spring. Plus, cabbage butterflies can lay eggs on your crops well into late summer and fall.

Since they can withstand cool, wet seasons, these pesky creatures can be difficult to keep out of your vegetable garden.

Do they only go for cabbage?

Unfortunately, these butterflies seek out anything in the cabbage family. So that means, if they find your broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or other brassicas, you may see some serious crop destruction fast. Unless, you get ahead of the problem.

So let’s get into how the cabbage butterfly lifecycle works. And that way you’ll be ready to stop them before they get started eating your garden!

White butterfly control methods for cabbages include:

It takes an adult butterfly landing on your crop for the eggs to happen. So, keeping the adults from your landing on your cabbages is ideal.

One great way to stop these cabbage pests from eating your brassicas is to keep your crops under cover of horticultural fleece.

In addition to keeping out flying insects, another bonus of using this material is that it breathes, lets in light, and water can pass through it.

But, it will only stop the adults from getting to your crops if you have the crops fully enclosed.

That’s because the adults can be sneaky. And they will go so far as to land and walk under a tiny crack where fleece coverings meet soil to get in so they can give their babies a delicious birthing location.

So, if you catch her in your garden, give her a squish. And, feed her to your chickens!

Where do cabbage butterflies lay their eggs?

If you suspect adult butterflies have been able to access your crops, it’s time to carefully inspect your plants.

To do this, flip over each leaf and look for tiny yellow specs. These are cabbage butterfly eggs.

Unfortunately, you’ll want to do this every day or so once you’ve had adults in your garden. Or, if you find a single egg on your brassicas, continue inspecting daily.

That’s because these eggs are really tiny, so it’s easy to miss them. Hence, check every day for several days as these tiny, yellow butterfly eggs grow bigger and more visible.

When you locate yellow cabbage butterfly eggs on the underside of your cabbage leaves, they’re easy to rub or flick off your leaves.

find yellow cabbage butterfly eggs on the underside of brassica plant leaves

The tiny yellow dots on the underside of brassica leaves are Cabbage Butterfly eggs. Carefully scrape them off the leaves as soon as you see them.

What happens if these eggs grow into larvae?

If you miss squishing all the eggs, those little yellow flecks hatch fast. Then they transform into tiny yellowish caterpillars that voraciously devour all things brassica (cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc…).

And, as they eat, cabbage “worms” quickly change from snot-yellow to bright green. And that bright green color camouflages them among most of the plants they eat. This includes kale, cabbage, broccoli, and more.

Learn more about growing cabbage successfully now.

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4 comments on “Cabbage Butterfly Eggs: Squish’m Young!

  1. Anne Ogg on

    Kinda a little late in the game for me to apply this now, but I’m glad I just discovered this website for next planting season and yes I’ve signed up for your online group as well. This last year was my first attempt at a container garden on my apartment patio and it turned out alright, for the most part. Lots of learning experiences that I’ll incorporate into next years garden.
    My biggest issue was these worms reeking havoc on my broccoli leaves and the fact I could NEVER find them. I appreciate the photos, especially of the eggs, but would love tips and/or photos on where they like to hide, if you have any?
    Thanks for the informative article.

  2. Garden Mentors on

    Anne, Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your story. As for finding these pests, notice the egg photo…they’re on the underside. And you’ll often find the caterpillars on the stems, where they blend in. Good luck. (Also, keep an eye on your emails. Lots of great stuff coming your way shortly!)

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