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Past Articles Library | Organic Pest Control | Cabbbage Looper



Cabbage Looper, Trichoplusia, adults are gray moths with silvery V-shaped spot in the middle of each forewing with a wingspan of 1-1/2 to 2 inches. They fly at night so most people rarely notice them. Larvae are green "inchworms" with a pair of white lines down their backs and one line along each side. Eggs are light green and dome shaped.



In May the moths emerge from overwintering pupae and lay their eggs on the upper surface of leaves. The larvae feed for 2-4 weeks, then pupate for 10 days in thin silk cocoons attached to stems or leaves. There are three to four generations per year in most areas.



Primarily cabbage and related plants; alos beet, celery, lettuce, pea, spinach, and tomato; flowers include carnation, and nasturtium.



Larvae chew holes in leaves; whole plants may be ruined or destroyed in severe infestations.



Handpick the larvae several times weekly. Spray with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) to control caterpillars. Spray severe infestations with garlic oil, pyrethrin, ryania, or sabadilla.


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Use Edgings

Nothing finishes off a flower bed like low, long flowering edging plants.

Alyssum, lobelia, and dianthus are great for just this purpose.

For good continual flowering, also fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15.

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