The cabbage white butterfly is a beautiful butterfly that is active during the day. In spring the butterfly looks for suitable plants on which its offspring can feast. All types of cabbage are on their menu, but the caterpillars also do not disdain rapeseed, field mustard or rocket. Between June and October the big eating begins – in the truest sense of the word. There are various options to counteract an acute infestation. What these are and how you can preventively keep the cabbage white butterfly out of your vegetable beds is explained below.

Basically, a distinction must be made between the large and the small cabbage white butterfly. You can tell which vegetable pest is in your garden by the following signs:

From a purely visual point of view, both butterflies look very similar. However, this does not apply to their offspring: the caterpillars of the large cabbage white butterfly (Pieris brassicae) are yellowish-green and have black spots. The biggest difference, however, lies in their feeding behavior, as in this case the pests “only” eat the leaves of vegetable plants down to their skeletons.

The caterpillars of the small cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) are much more widespread, have a green coat and usually appear singly and not in large numbers like their “larger” relatives. Nevertheless, they cause much more damage because the pests eat their way into the hearts of the cabbages and the plant can die completely.

To combat the large or small cabbage white butterfly in a natural way – without the use of chemicals – you can use beneficial insects: such as parasitic wasps of the genus Trichogramma. They lay their eggs in those of the butterflies so that their offspring eat the caterpillars. If there are no more eggs, the little flies disappear on their own. This special type of parasitic wasp is available on a few platforms on the Internet, but not in large online shops such as Amazon.

Note: There is still a downer: If you use the parasitic wasps outdoors, there is a chance that the small flies will be “lost” – either by birds for which they serve as a food source or by strong gusts of wind. Accordingly, the use of parasitic wasps against cabbage white butterflies in the greenhouse is much more effective.

Another option to protect your plants from the pest is offered by Legona European borer-free XenTari: The biological control agent contains the strain of Bacillus thuriengiensis and is used against the infestation of borers, cabbage white butterflies and frostbite moths. Proceed as follows:

To prevent cabbage white caterpillars from eating your cabbage leaves or other vegetable plants, you can take preventive measures:

Sources: NABU, My beautiful garden

This article contains so-called affiliate links. Further information are available here.