as our space is usually limited and i can't
cook it anyways we've never actually grown
cabbages before this year. the difference
this year is someone we know who makes
saurkraut and Ma wanting to do something
nice for them. we put in 12 plants.
of the 12, 1 is decidedly different in
leaf shape and i doubt it will be a cabbage
at all. 1 other is much smaller than the
others, but that is because it is shaded in
the afternoon for a few hours. it is still
green and growing fine.
the cabbage butterfly/worms are doing a
lot of damage. today i went out to pick
them off and then i sprayed the plants down
to rinse off all the green poop they left
behind. this way when i go out again to find
more worms i'll be able to see if any new
piles are showing up.
as i've not really cared much about the
white butterflies before to pay attention to
their life cycle i figured i could ask the
experts here about them.
i'm assuming that as long as they are
flying around they are capable of laying
eggs. so the quest of picking worms off
will likely be until i stop seeing them
as to specific questions, do they ever
give up? or can they have more than one
generation per season?
the cabbage is getting a more compact
inner set of leaves now, do the worms keep
burrowing in or will the plant be able to
form a head anyways if i ignore them? it
looks like it can be hard to get all the
worms off of those inner leaves without
breaking them off.
when the worms are done where do they
i had a nice handful of them today and
put them in soapy water to drown them. poor
yes, i know i can google all of this, but
it's fun to also be able to talk to people
about their experiences.
as for control, hand picking seems to be the
only option as i don't spray anything other
than water on the plants. if there are other
ways of controlling them (bugs to encourage
other than praying mantis or birds that will
eat them or the butterflies, etc.) i'll be
interested in hearing your experiences with
what you've attempted and what's worked the
Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately
hazardous. It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but
extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish. This higher
toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenone is
easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through
the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. Rotenone is toxic to
erythrocytes in vitro. 
The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg. Human deaths from
rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes
vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone can be fatal.
The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has a
lifetime of six days in the environment. In water, rotenone may last
six months.
In 2000, injecting rotenone into rats was reported to cause the
development of symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease (PD).
Rotenone was continuously applied over a period of five weeks, mixed
with DMSO and PEG to enhance tissue penetration, and injected into the
jugular vein. The study does not directly suggest rotenone exposure
is responsible for PD in humans, but is consistent with the belief that
chronic exposure to environmental toxins increases the likelihood of the
In addition, studies with primary cultures of rat neurons and microglia
have shown low doses of rotenone (below 10 nM) induce oxidative damage
and death of dopaminergic neurons, and it is these neurons in the
substantia nigra that die in Parkinson's disease. Another study has also
described toxic action of rotenone at low concentrations (5 nM) in
dopaminergic neurons from acute rat brain slices. This toxicity was
exacerbated by an additional cell stressor - elevated intracellular
calcium concentration - adding support to the 'multiple hit hypothesis'
of dopaminergic neuron death.
The neurotoxin MPTP had been known earlier to cause PD-like symptoms (in
humans and other primates, though not in rats) by interfering with
Complex I in the electron transport chain and killing dopaminergic
neurons in the substantia nigra. However, further studies involving MPTP
have failed to show development of Lewy bodies, a key component to PD
pathology. Therefore, the mechanism behind MPTP as it relates to
Parkinson's disease is not fully understood. Because of these
developments, rotenone was investigated as a possible Parkinson-causing
agent. Both MPTP and rotenone are lipophilic and can cross the
In 2010, a study was published detailing the progression of
Parkinson's-like symptoms in mice following chronic intragastric
ingestion of low doses of rotenone. The concentrations in the central
nervous system were below detectable limits, yet still induced PD
In 2011, a US National Institutes of Health study showed a link between
rotenone use and Parkinson's disease in farm workers.
On Monday, July 15, 2013 11:47:37 AM UTC-6, Billy wrote:
So thoroughly WASH the dust from the cabbage and there should be NO problem.
Sheesh, you people think that everyone wants to ingest poisons. Derris dust
breaks down naturally after exposure to air. We always WASHED our cabbage
before usage...what is preventing you from doing the same thing?
some of us find the "poison" approach unethical
or damaging in other ways (including intellectually).
some of us would rather explore other methods of
problem solving gardening issues than applying a
perhaps you've suffered from a derris dust
exposure and it has damaged your brain? how
could i trust your judgement?
yep, that's what i'll be doing for now, but
still reading and interested in comments about
life-cycle or habits of creatures and plants.
so far one source says to enclose the head in
stockings to keep them out, but that doesn't take
care of those already inside or tell me if the
plant will out grow those inside (as they must
eventually eat enough at some point...) and end
up with a solid cabbage head after all.
looks like only one life-cycle per season.
the other thing is that there are very few
decoy varieties around. i have almost no
other brassicas in the gardens/yard. so these
plants are acting like a magnet...
Very dated experience has me doubtful that a cabbage worm could
ever get full.
I think the only zero-input method is enclosing the plants early
(row covers or such). Otherwise, picking or poison.
My experience is with broccoli, but I assume they behave about the
same on cabbage.
Drew Lawson Some men's dreams
for others turn to nightmares.
heh, yeah, they sure leave huge piles
of droppings. yet they have to reach adult
it has really helped a lot to rinse the
plants off after picking the worms. makes
the next round of hand picking easier.
in picking them off today i've gotten the
population down significantly. only a few
dozen today and most of them the smaller
sized ones. will check again later.
looks like hand picking will be tolerable.
brocolli must be easier. you don't have to
find 'em inside the curling leaves.
based upon a mis-reading/misunderstanding
of the wording on the wiki site, which says:
"In Britain, it has two flight periods, April–May
and July–August, but is continuously-brooded in North
America, being one of the first butterflies to emerge
from the chrysalis in spring, flying until hard freeze
in the fall."
that last bit made me think one critter flew all
after reading other sources it looks like there are
at least two (and perhaps three) flights in this area
at 200-400 eggs per critter that's a lot of worms --
even if only some of them make it to hatching and
i haven't seen them flying at all the past few days
My response was to Roy's suggestion.
Having read another post of yours, I'd bet that your biggest helper will
probably be wasps.
If you've watched them patrol cabbages, broccoli and the like, you'll have
noticed that they are very thorough and go over every leaf top and bottom until
they find something.
We let the wasps nest mostly wherever and have their own harvest. Between our
picking and squashing and their stinging and carrying away, the cabbages do
One season we had a huge paper wasp nest in the garden shed and no cabbage
It's a bit different after the cabbages head up. Then our problem is mostly
earwigs and slugs.
we have plenty of hornets/wasps around. they
like the rocks in the rock piles, the backsides
of stepping stones, many of the wind chimes or
other decorations. also they often are nesting
on the eves of the house (but i knock those down).
when we had scarecrows the wasps/hornets really
i've not ever seen them crawling on the cabbage
plants, but will hope to see them soon. i picked
about 70 cabbage worms today. will check them
again in the morning. rinsing off the droppings
helps find new ones.
will have to inspect more closely for eggs
as i've never grown cabbage before i'm guessing
that is what is starting to happen now as the
middle of the heads are starting to have more
curling leaves packed together. the cabbage
worms are doing a good job of chewing their
way through those leaves.
luckily i don't think either of those are a
significant problem around here.
Larvae of the cabbage butterfly are green and very hairy, with an almost
velvet like appearance. Older larvae may be up to an inch long and often
have one faint yellow-orange stripe down their backs and broken stripes
along the sides. Compared to other caterpillars, cabbageworms move
slowly and are sluggish but they feed voraciously on both the outer and
inner leaves, often feeding along the midrib, at the base of the wrapper
leaves, or boring into the heads of cabbage. After 2 to 3 weeks of
feeding, larvae pupate attached by a few strands of silk to stems or
other nearby objects; pupae are green with faint yellow lines down the
back and sides; there is no spun cocoon. The adult cabbage butterfly is
white with one to four black spots on the wings; they are often seen
fluttering around the fields. The whitish, rocket-shaped eggs are laid
singly on the undersides of leaves.
Natural enemies can assist significantly in the control of imported
cabbageworms. Important parasites include the pupal parasite Pteromalus
puparum; the larval parasites Apanteles glomeratus, Microplitis
plutella, and several tachinid flies; and egg parasites in the
Trichogramma genus. Viruses and bacterial diseases are also sometimes
important control factors in the field.
Tachinid flies are North America's largest and
most important group of parasitic flies, with at
least 1300 species in the U.S. Adult tachinid flies
resemble small houseflies and may be covered in
dark bristly hairs. Their bodies measure anywhere
from 1/3" to 1/4". Adult tachinids are commonly
found pollinating flowers and resting on leaves.
The adults are important pollinators and the larvae
consume incredible amounts of pests.
Tachinid flies are parasites. Some female tachinid
flies lay their eggs on the bodies of host insects,
after which the eggs hatch and the larvae tunnel
inside and excavate the host's body. Other
species deposit live larvae directly into the hosts.
And still other tachinids lay eggs on plants in
hopes that the eggs will be digested by a host
insect (caterpillars in particular) and gain access
PESTS THEY CONTROL
Tachinid fly larvae help rid your garden of:
Caterpillars of many kinds (including cabbage
worms and Gypsy moth), Colorado potato beetles,
corn ear worms, cucumber beetles, cutworms,
earwigs, four lined plant bugs, Japanese beetles,
Mexican bean beetles, sawfly larvae, squash
bugs, tobacco budworms.
Larval tachinid flies begin to consume their hosts by
eating non-essentia tissue first; as a result the host
will continue to grow and feed normally--for a
while. Only when this material is fully consumed,
will the larvae turn to eating vital organs. After all,
it's in the tachinid larvae's best interest to allow
their host to live as long as possible so they can
grow fat and sassy. The larvae then pupate into
adults either inside or outside their prey's body.
HOW TO ATTRACT AND KEEP THEM
Preferring to feed on nectar from small flowers,
tachinid flies are lured to habitats rich in flowering
herbs, especially those in the dill family: cilantro,
dill, fennel, parsley, and Queen Anne's lace
are very attractive. They also enjoy nectar from
members of the daisy family including: Aster,
chamomile, feverfew, ox-eye daisy and Shasta
daisy. Flowering buckwheat is said to be another
we have tons of herbs flowering most of the season.
right now the mints, oreganoes, thymes are full of
bees. many different species of bees too, i'm glad
i don't let queen-anne's-lace grow here, but i
could tolerate fennel, dill, cilantro, parsley.
also, plenty of buckwheat scattered around.
also have shasta daisy and chamomile in places.
asters grow wild, and we try to keep a few plants
going in the gardens, but they don't seem to do
well in our soil. the one's in the ditches do
will have to search for pictures of them as i
probably have seen them about...
I augment my herbs with alyssum to attract beneficial insects.
Otherwise, you may want to look at
For those who may have just tuned in, this part of what is called
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT.
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