Common Cabbage Damaging Pests: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, and Management

Cabbage growers, brace yourselves! Your beloved cabbages are attacked by many pests that can munch on their leaves or drain their sap, leaving them weak and unfit for consumption. Fret not, for we have compiled a comprehensive list of these common cabbage-damaging culprits, complete with accurate identification details.

Common Cabbage Damaging Pests

But fear not! In this blog post, we’ll dive into common cabbage-damaging pests, exploring their telltale symptoms and providing you with the best treatments to combat them. We’ll also share some handy prevention and management tips to keep these critters at bay. 

Common Cabbage Damaging Pests

When it comes to cabbage pests, be prepared to face off against the infamous Cabbage Aphid and the troublesome Cabbage Root Maggot and Cabbage Worm. Stay vigilant for the cunning Cutworm, elusive Diamondback Moth, pesky Flea Beetle, voracious Grasshopper, crafty Harlequin Bug, slimy Slug, and sluggish Snail. These common pests can attack cabbage.

Control and Management of Aphid Pest Attack on Cabbage 

Identification and Symptoms: Cabbage aphids, scientifically known as Brevicoryne brassicae, are a common pest on cabbage and related crops. These gray-green insects are often found in dense clusters, covered in a whitish-waxy coating, particularly on tender new growth.

While they can be present throughout spring and summer, their populations tend to increase in late summer and persist into autumn. The damage caused by cabbage aphids can be deceptive due to their camouflage. Look out for their feeding sites and the black deposits of honeydew they leave behind. Late-maturing Brussels sprouts and cabbage are particularly susceptible to their attack.

Prevention: Removing and composting old plants is important to prevent infestations, as cabbage aphids can overwinter in dead plant tissue. Trim and compost stem hosting aphid clusters. Regularly harvest Brussels sprouts to prevent them from becoming aphid nurseries. Encouraging beneficial insects like lady beetles, syrphid flies, and lacewings can help control aphid populations.

Management: During outbreaks, use a forceful water spray to remove aphids, then apply insecticidal soap twice, one week apart. Lady beetles, and their larvae are beneficial predators. Ant activity can signal aphid colonies due to honeydew attraction.

Control and Management of Cabbage Root Maggots Attack on Cabbage 

Identification and Symptoms: Cabbage root maggots, also known as Cabbage Flies common pests, are tiny pests about the size of a grain of rice. Delicate, hump-backed grayish-brown flies lay small white bullet-shaped eggs on the main stem near the soil line. After hatching, the larvae tunnel into the roots, causing wilting and shriveling of the plants. These rice-sized white maggots can feed on the roots when affected plants are pulled up.

Prevention: To prevent problems, you can use floating row covers or vertical row cover “fences” on either side of the row to deter egg-laying adults. Creating cardboard, cloth, or heavy paper cabbage collars can protect individual seedlings. Mulching encourages ground beetles, which are natural predators of cabbage root maggots. Late summer is when these pests pose the most threat to fall crops like cabbage and cauliflower.

Management: Remove heavily affected plants and rinse their roots in warm water to dislodge the maggots. Alternatively, you can drown the maggots or feed them to chickens. Monitoring and trapping cabbage root flies can be done using yellow sticky traps or pans of water.

Control and Management of Cabbage Worms Attack on Cabbage 

Identification and Symptoms: Cabbage worms common pests, including the imported cabbageworm (Pieris rapae) and cabbage loopers (Trichoplusia ni), are common pests that damage cabbage family crops. The imported cabbageworm larvae are velvety green with faint yellow stripes, while cabbage loopers are Caterpillars that move by raising and lowering their backs. Adult moths of these species lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, and the caterpillars immediately begin feeding, leaving behind frass or excrement. Late in the season, they can hide inside the bases of cabbage or cauliflower heads. 

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