We welcome you to today’s garden guides and we will talk of how to control cabbage loopers which are scientifically called:


If your garden looks like the result of a visit from a very hungry caterpillar, you are talking to cabbage Loopers.

These green worms feed on a variety of garden crops, from kale to tomatoes, but as the name implies, you are particularly fond of cabbage and other cabbage crops.

And like very hungry caterpillars, they can make omnipotent messes.

The holes in the leaves are cut into holes and your precious cabbage is dug into the gutter, if not tested, this annoying drying can ruin your crop – if you don’t get there first.

Once you can identify that these are not actually cabbage curlers and any other pests, they are quite easy to control in different ways.

Let’s see some more details. Here’s what we’ll cover:


  1. Identification, Biology, and Life Cycle
  2. Distribution
  3. How to Manage Cabbage Loopers
  • Cultural Controls
  • Natural Enemies
  • Biological Control
  • Organic Pesticides
  • Chemical Pesticides

Want to fight Cabbage loopers? Fun fact: Cabbage loopers are called “loopers” because they move like thumb worms and form “loops” when they return to present their bodies in front. Loop loop.

Not so much a fun fact: this little green caterpillar (could soon become an insect) will eat everything in your garden if you don’t care. Good about. Yes, these are called loopers “cabbages” and they prefer plants from the cabbage family (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and other brassicas).

However, these dense tigers can consume up to three times their body weight a day and they will not stop with your cruciferous vegetables. They are also known to eat tomatoes, potatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, celery and the list goes further.

The good news is that with a few simple steps and considerations, you can effectively prevent or stop the damage. Here is what you can do.


The cabbage looper is the larval stage of the moth Trichoplasia nee, a member of the notice family.

The butterfly has a light coloured base and light-coloured base and a single silver patch on the top. The body is a winged body about an inch and a half long

Butterfly Trichoplasia is not an adult either

In my opinion, these look quite dull and annoying but things start to get interesting after you lay your eggs.

Insects do no harm to them as soon as they are fed nectar and they are usually active at night or in the morning and evening.

Birds and bees (and moths) After all, the female inspects your garden and identifies the most promising crop that lays her eggs. And this is usually your brassicas.

All members of the brassicaceae family, such as calf, turnip, broccoli and cauliflower, will definitely be in its sights.

Butterflies lay light green or yellow round eggs under the leaves. Sometimes they lay single eggs and other times they lay small clusters. If you find your ruler, the diameter of each egg is 0.6 millimetres.

These eggs hatch in two to seven days depending on the temperature. The warmer the temperature, the faster they hatch.

These are white when the larvae first emerge and will probably not be noticed unless you are very careful. With your leaves, they turn green as they go along the way.

As they mature, the larvae can clearly identify as green caterpillars – usually one and a half to one and a half inches long – with distinct white stripes on either side of the body.

They have six pairs of legs, three of which are located near the head and the rest at the back of the abdomen, called “prelets”.

What’s the best way to make sure you’re with a cabbage looper and not any other type of caterpillar? See how they move.

They arch into a distinctive curl on their backs and push forward the anterior part of the body. Hence the name “looper”.

The cabbage loop displays distinct “looping” movements. Photo by David Capart,

But don’t spend too much time watching them move, because with each step (loop?) They will take one more bite of your crop.

In the early stages, the larvae feed only from under the leaves. You will notice some part of the sheet that will appear thinner, this is called “glass” presence.

Older larvae eat the entire leaf, creating seemingly random and irregular holes. If you have a large infestation, these can completely contaminate your plant or at the very least, reduce its growth.

You can usually see them on the leaves, but they can also be found on cabbage or broccoli heads.

These insects can swallow up to three times their body weight a day, and when they wake up, brown spots – sticky faeces – contaminate your grain.


After about 20 days of rejoicing with your vegetables, the larvae will form fragile cocoons in puppets or plant debris.

Chrysalis is usually about an inch long and starts from green and gradually turns brown and then black.

Adult butterflies will grow after four to 14 days depending on the temperature and the process will start again.


Cabbage loops are found throughout the United States, although they only winter in warmer climates.

According to experts in the Department of Entomology at the University of Florida, these insects can perform two to seven life cycles each year.

Warm temperatures lead to the end of multiple life cycles, which means you will have to deal with them for most of the growing season.

In the south, these insects overflow as adults and some of these adults move north in the spring.

John L. Capinera of the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida noted that adult cabbage looper butterflies are estimated to have a range of 125 miles.


These pests feed mainly on brassicas but will attack other crops including radishes, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, lettuce and beans.


If you are tired of seeing cut leaves and looping pests in your crop, you can use different methods to eradicate them.

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy can help you manage pests in a sustainable way. This may include observation – and detection – the use of pheromone traps to disrupt adult populations and mating activities.


Crop controls include using cover covers to prevent butterflies from laying eggs on your crops, to encourage beneficial birds and insects in your garden, and to remove plant debris at the end of the season to prevent reproduction. The following performance year.

Check your culture regularly and remove the eggs. If you have purchased seedlings from a nursery, test them carefully before planting or you may have unknowingly taken the risk of introducing these pests.

Carefully inspect the leaves, top and bottom of your tree and remove caterpillars by hand. You can give these to your chickens as a special treat or you can immerse them in water and throw them in the garbage.

Food grade diatomaceous earth may be effective for a small insect. Spread it on the leaves of your tree and above and below. It needs to be reapplied after rain and it will not affect adults.


Beneficial predatory wastes, Trichogramma spp., Will parasitize the eggs by keeping their own eggs inside, which stops their development.

You can release live parasitic seeds in your garden. The best time to do this is when you see an adult butterfly or egg.

Look for parasitic wastes from Arabico Organics to distribute these in your garden.

Another effective predator that attacks eggs is the Green Leswing, Crisopella rufilabris.

Laying larvae feed cabbage loop eggs and a variety of insect pests, such as aphids, thrips and whiteflies – a bonus!

Arbico Organics provides hatching eggs to affected plants after three to 10 days.


Biological control is effective with Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (BTK). It is a soil bacterium that reduces a toxin when eaten by insects that cripples the digestive system.

It is not harmful to humans, birds, pets, fish or even the most beneficial insects.

Bt K affects the larval stage and is most effective after hatching as well as after feeding. It is applied as a spray and you need to make sure that you are treating all the tops, all the leaves above and below.


You can find bonide thurisides in a variety of forms from Arbico Organics.

And check out our guide to learn more about B. thuringiensis and how it works


Broad-spectrum organic pesticides are available for cabbage loop control but you should keep in mind that they can also kill beneficial insects, including honey bees and other pollinators.

The pyrethrin pesticide is made from plant extracts of certain species of the genus Chrysanthemum. Spray contact will kill larvae and eggs.

You can get the pyganic gardening pesticide from arabico organic material.

Spinosad is an insecticide that paralyzes insects.

It is a natural substance produced by the stimulants of soil bacteria and is effective against a variety of pests.


As a last resort, you may decide to use chemical pesticides to control any insects.

Carbaryl sold as a buyer sevin is effective, but it will probably kill all the beneficial insects in your garden.

Another alternative is the active ingredients of cyfluthrin, betroid and sulfa.

If you choose to use chemical treatments, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can read more about the safe application of chemicals in our guides.


Unobstructed, cabbage loops can cause significant damage to your crops, but they are relatively easy to control once you detect their presence.

Check your garden regularly for easy detection of adults, eggs and thumb worms. These are effective to pick up by hand, but if you need extra help, you can choose a method of control that will not harm beneficial insects and pollinators.

Have a problem with cabbage curlers in your garden? Share your tips in the comments section below.

And for more information on pests that can damage your crops, you’ll need these guides:

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