Country Lore: Defeat Cabbage Worms

Row covers and beneficial wasps can keep your garden free of pesky cabbage worms.
By Paul Wheeler
June/July 2008
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

5 Signs You Have Cabbage Worms in Your Garden

As you can guess from their name, cabbage worms primarily attack plants in the cabbage family, but a...

Something Is Eating Holes in My New Broccoli Plants. What Should I Do?

Learn to deal with cabbage worms through organic methods.

Boost the Braconid Wasp Population in Your Garden for Organic Pest Control

Braconid wasps play an important role in organic pest control. Braconids are beneficial insects that...

Ground Beetles Are Helpful Garden Insects

Attracting beneficial insects, such as the ground beetle, and using organic pesticides are important...

While reading The No-spray Way to Protect Your Plants, I remembered my experience with last year’s cabbage crop. I started seeing cabbage worm coming around, so I bought a row cover big enough to cover one row. After a few weeks, I noticed the row with the cover was getting chewed up worse than the uncovered row. Puzzled, I removed the row cover and picked off as many little green cabbage worms as I could find.

Obviously the moths had gotten to my cabbages before I covered them. But why was the uncovered row less chewed up? In searching for green cabbage worms on the uncovered row and finding very few, I discovered small yellow wasps were doing the job for me. For the rest of the summer, I left the beneficial wasps alone and let them build their nests under the eaves of my shed. Of the 30 cabbages I picked, I found not a single cabbage worm. I do believe in row covers, but I now believe in little yellow wasps, too.

Paul Wheeler
Blackfoot, Idaho

Many birds and insects, including wasps, feed on caterpillars. Paul’s report is a perfect example of how natural enemies can keep pest damage to a minimum. Some gardeners even install bottomless birdhouses in their gardens to provide nesting boxes for beneficial paper wasps. — MOTHER

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.