Control Insects Now; Don’t Wait Until Spring

Clint Thompson Alabama, Pests, Top Posts

File photo shows a cabbage field. The cabbage butterfly is a major nuissance for farmers.

The time is now to control insects in brassica crops like cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, kale and turnips. According to Ayanava Majumdar, Extension Professor in Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University, they are still going to be a problem in the spring.

“The emphasis should be on preventing buildup of these insects on your farm because it only gets worse in the spring. It’s not going to go away,” Majumdar said.

One insect Alabama vegetable producers need to be wary of is the imported cabbage worm, also known as the cabbage butterfly.

“The cabbage butterfly, its caterpillar is like a sluggish, velvety caterpillar. It’s a very smooth looking caterpillar. It doesn’t move much, but it devastates a crop by direct feeding and also a lot of contamination happens from the feces of the caterpillar,” Majumdar said. “It may feed alongside with diamondback moth and loopers. But in my test plots the imported cabbage worm or cabbage butterfly is the predominant caterpillar that I see.

“That will be one insect to watch out for.”

Majumdar also cautions producers about the potential consequences of applying too much pesticides on your crops.

“Don’t overspray because then you are pushing insecticide resistance issues, especially if you have diamondback moth. It’s very notorious for resistance to pesticides,” Majumdar said.