Working in your garden you might be temporarily spooked by a cabbage moth fluttering out from underneath a leaf. Although your momentary terror leaves you, you are not the least tempted to destroy the moth because you think nothing of it. However, cabbage moths can do a lot of damage, and as a hobby gardener, you need to know why they should be treated as pests.
Cabbage Moths, the Invasive Species
Real cabbage moths, not to be confused with the pretty little white and yellow butterflies commonly called cabbage moths, are dark brown and speckled. Once found only in Europe, Russia and parts of Japan, this invasive species hitched a ride with imported fruits, vegetables and on ships traveling to the U.S. Once they set foot here, they found the farms and gardens to their liking and rapidly reproduced. Their coloration hides them exceedingly well when they are perched on anything wood. They lay their eggs on the underside of leaves so that their larvae may immediately consume what is available when they hatch.
Why Cabbage Moths Are a Problem
Cabbage moths are indiscriminate about what they eat. Although they are called cabbage moths, there is a very long list of plants, flowers and vegetables that they are content to consume. Some of these plants, like marigolds and geraniums, are used as border flowers to keep other pests like rabbits from eating what is beyond the border flowers. When the cabbage moths consume these guard plants, the rest of your garden is open for invasion from larger creatures. What the adult moths do not consume, their larvae finish off.
Getting Rid of Cabbage Moths
An exterminator is your best answer for eliminating your cabbage moth problem. You can choose to have your plants sprayed or fumigated for the pests, and anything you and your family plans to harvest and eat will need to be washed thoroughly. An alternative is to request that an insecticidal soap with lye in it be used instead to control the larvae, and therefore control the cabbage moth population in your garden. Ask your exterminator if he or she carries this type of product or if he or she knows where you can purchase it.
When You Are Not Planning to Eat Your Garden
If you plant flowers only in your garden, it is highly recommended that you fumigate and spray your flowers against cabbage moths when the telltale signs are present. The more you spray against these pests the fewer will return the following season to chew holes through your plants. Keeping the moths away will also help deter larger animals from venturing into your flower beds to eat your flowers because your border plants will keep them at bay.Share