Cabbage worms are one of the most common pests found in Front Range gardens. If you see holes in the leaves of your broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, or kale, then you probably have cabbage worms.
What are Cabbage Worms or Loopers?
Cabbage worms (or cabbage loopers) are small, green, velvet-like caterpillars, which eat holes in your leaves. They grow to be about an inch long in their larvae stage. They grow into white butterflies with one to four black spots on their wings, which you will see flying around your garden all season! The larvae are voracious eaters, so even one or two worms on a plant can cause severe injury.
3 Ways to Tell if Your Garden has been Infested with Cabbage Worms
1. Do you have holes in the leaves of any of these plants?
- Brussels sprouts
2. Can you spot dark green droppings on your crops? If you see such droppings, check the underside of the leaves for eggs or worms.
3. Do you see more white butterflies in your garden than usual? At this point, your plants most likely have been impacted by the larvae.
How to Prevent and Eliminate Cabbage Worms
To prevent the worms, cover your garden beds with floating row cover. This will inhibit the white butterflies from laying eggs on your crops.
Remove the eggs and the worms, which will most likely be on the underside of the leaves, simply remove and dispose of them away from your crops.