Panhandle gardeners have their fall gardens planted and our growing rapidly. What the gardeners may start noticing is shotgun damage to cabbage leaves in their garden. The suspect for this damage is the Cross-Striped Cabbageworm.
The Cross-Striped Cabbageworm have black and white markings on the back of the caterpillar and a bright yellow stripe on each side. This particular caterpillar feeds in cluster and maybe limited to a hot spot of a few plants in the garden or production area. They feed on tender parts of the cabbage including the terminal bud and can feed into the head once heading is initiated.
With all pest control the three levels of control should be used:
- Level 1: Systems-based practices – weed control of pest host weeds
- Level 2: Mechanical and physical practices – A barrier, such as a light cloth that still allows enough light, can be used when the plants our young to prevent the moths from laying eggs on the cabbage.
- Level 3: Soft chemical & other materials – Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) products can be used on the small-sized caterpillars. Harsher chemicals can kill the adults but in a garden situation picking them off and disposing them in a bucket of soapy water will do the trick as well.