pests

Getting Rid of Cabbage Worms

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August is the peak month for harvesting garden vegetables. It is also peak cabbage harvesting month.

Cabbage butterflies are the number 1 enemy of plants in the cabbage family which includes cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout, kale (both edible and ornamental) and—of course—cabbage.

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The bright-white butterflies (seen on the rleft) lay eggs on susceptible plants and—very shortly thereafter—voracious larvae (cabbageworm) emerge and chew large holes in the foliage.


I’ve battled cabbage butterflies for years and they are the category of insects that I find the most irritating. When I finally get my broccoli to the point where it can be harvested and eaten, I have zero tolerance for worms concealed in the crowns. Green worms and cheese sauce are a very disgusting combination!

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The solution to cabbage worm control is a weekly application of a product called BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki). BTK is a bacteria that specifically targets cabbageworms and their relatives and is very safe to apply. It is best to apply BTK in the early morning or evening because the bacteria don’t like hot, dry weather during application.

Alternatively, you can use crop cover to prevent cabbage butterflies from laying their eggs altogether.

Water and sun-penetrable, crop cover is an effective and organic way to prevent pests such as cabbage worm from damaging your crop.

Podcast: Fall Pest Control - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about controlling pests and insects in your yard but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a pest-control podcast on the Hole's Radio Network, available here.

In this episode of the Hole's Radio Network, Jim Hole chats with Brad Walker—the reluctant gardener—about the top 5 things everybody needs to know about pests and insects in the fall: where they go, how to keep them from taking over your garden, and when and how to apply your dormant spray kit (click here for details).

Play it below or download it by clicking here and, when you're done checking it out, please let us know what you think (by replying in the comments below). Also, let us know if you'd like to see more podcasts or video tutorials in the future.

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Fungus Gnats - What To Do

Fungus gnats are very annoying pests. Anyone who has grown houseplants for any length of time has likely seen these tiny, mosquito-like flies.
 
Fungus gnats love rich, damp organic soils and feed on the various fungi and other microorganisms that reside in these soils. A single adult gnat has a lifespan of about 10 days, but can lay about 250 to 300 eggs during that time. Eggs are laid into the soil and very tiny legless larvae emerge in a few days and feed before emerging from the soil as winged adults. Adult gnats don’t feed but are annoying flying around ones houseplants!
 
Control of Fungus Gnats is threefold. First, buy only high quality potting soil that drains well. Fungus Gnats love nothing better then consistently wet and boggy soils.
 
Secondly, use some yellow "sticky traps" to monitor and capture fungus gnat adults. The adults find anything that is bright yellow, irresistible.
 
Thirdly, there are sprays (we carry some here in the greenhouse) that can be applied directly to the soil and are very effective for controlling Fungus Gnat larvae. More than one application is necessary because sprays only affect the larvae and not the eggs.
 
While Fungus gnats are the least damaging of all the common houseplant pests they are the undisputed champions when it comes to indoor insect pests that people hate the most.