How can I prevent the cabbage butterfly from stripping the leaves of my plants without resorting to having to cover my veggies with netting, which I have to remove each time I need to weed the area and put down slug and snail pellets?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Try hosing or plucking the worms off. Remove as many of the lower leaves as possible from the plants, as this is where they lay their eggs, which are dark green.
To prevent worms from burrowing into the heads, try placing the entire head in pantyhose or other suitable nylon stocking until ready for harvesting. This is often done when the worms/butterflies are most prevalent, in spring and summer.
The use of Bacillius thuringiensis (Bt), a non-toxic, biological insecticide, is effective and is specifically targeted towards worms/caterpillars. It’s also safe and can be used on most garden vegetables. Using Bt will not harm any beneficial insects, including natural enemies of these worms. Another alternative is neem oil.