Cabbage White Butterfly

cabbage white butterfly female

*image above courtesy genius photographer Darren Greene

The above image is the female Small Cabbage White Butterfly [Pieris rapae], and was taken on one of my garden group hedgerow walks in Ballyboughal.

The small white can look like a [bear with me…] small version of the large white [Pieris brassicae] and should not be confused – but here’s how you spot the difference:

The top of [the small white] its wings is cream white/ almost bleached white in the male with black tips while the females colour is a more cream yellow/ life coffee froth with two black spots in the center of their wings, which is what yuou see above.

The image that we saw first however was this….

cabbage butterfly eggs

The above image is in fact the eggs of the Large Cabbage White Butterfly. This could get mildly confusing I hear you say….but the Small White tends to lay one egg on its own which is light green in colour – almost like a glow in the dark pimple. The eggs above are bright yellow laid in a cluster which makes it that of the Large Cabbage White Butterfly.

Control of these is very simple in that one can just break/ pick off/ crush the eggs – or one can choose to use chemical. I’d nearly grow cabbages just to photograph the eggs again.

what is eating my plant…

not what... but who?

not what... but who?

I was out near The Curragh recently with really nice clients having a coffee… on the way out the door… I spotted Dolly having a go at the newest vegetarian options menu 😆

Humour aside, last year of course my cabbage plants had an absolute savaging by the insect world. Not being the biggest chemical fan in the world that I am… I inspected and it was pretty easy to see why the ‘law of diminishing returns’ had taken an entirely new meaning. Without getting into the entire lengthy discussion of insects and their habits…. for the moment I shall narrow amage of leave down to two types.

The first is by insects… [pauses] pests of plants – whose  mouth eating parts will only alow them to eat in between the veins of the plants leaves… the second type is bird damage who will eat through any part of the leaf including the vein.

operophtera brumata

operophtera brumata

In this case it is plain to see the Winter Moth Caterpillar [operophtera brumata] having an absolute feast.

To control these guys the answers are [excluding chemical warefare] pretty pre-historic. Assuming you do wish to end their life, it is by hand that is constantly recommended by almost all books… ie. they are to be removed by hand. The only other method it seems is to cover the planted area with a horticultural fleece to prevent them getting to the plant.

Whatever you do, whatever you choose to grow – remember not to get stressed and enjoy 🙂

what’s eating my plants

I couldn’t believe it when I looked outside and saw, literally every cabbage plant, stripped. What is left over,  probably hasn’t got long left.

This little git is the catterpillar and will eventually become a butterfly – as I’m sure you already know. But how, domestically and non chemically do I deal with the little insect.

The only solution is to pick them off and cover with a horticultural fleece to prevent them returning to their f-l-avoured leaf. I’d better get started on my 100 plants, while I have some left!

Apart from the obvious signs one will know if it is catterpillar [in this case] because they cannot eat the large veins of the plant as its mouth parts are not big enough. That said if the catterpillars are not there be careful, not to confuse the damage with what could be that of birds… you’ll know this because the bites [holes] are not interveinal [though the veins] as their mouth parts can eat through any part of the leaf.