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A safe approach to cabbageworm control

Cabbage moths are flying. We can use safe insecticides to control the worms.

Imported cabbageworm mothThe annual dance of the imported cabbageworm moth (Pieris rapae) is now underway. The delicate moths are fluttering up and down over our cabbage and broccoli plants.

Nobody likes wormy cabbage or broccoli, but the sight of poisonous Sevin dust on our vegetables is not very appetizing either.

This year’s performance of these dancing moths is currently in its opening act. Eggs are being laid, but only tiny worms are being seen. We still have time to control these pests using a safe insecticide: Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel, Thuricide).

The cabbageworms will eat the bacteria and die within a couple days. This bacterium is safe to humans as well as to birds and beneficial insects. It is a smart and safe approach to controlling this pest.


Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, July 28, 2914. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Margrit and Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org.Worm-infested cabbage

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