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Methods to Control Harmful Cabbage Webworms

AgriSearch – Understanding the Characteristics and Effective Techniques to Combat the Cabbage Moth Caterpillar


The cabbage moth caterpillar (Plutella xylostella linaeus) is a major pest that primarily affects cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower. These caterpillars typically emerge and cause damage from October to April or May of the following year. If not controlled timely, they can significantly reduce yield and quality of vegetables. AgriSearch is here to help farmers and gardeners understand the characteristics of the cabbage moth caterpillar and implement effective pest control techniques. Let’s delve into the details.

  1. The Characteristics of Cabbage Moth Caterpillar

The cabbage moth caterpillar measures about 6-7 mm in length with a wingspan of 14-15 mm. The forewings are brown with a wavy white stripe running along the back in males and a yellow stripe in females, extending towards the end of the wings. The hindwings have long fringed edges. When at rest, the wings are folded neatly along the body, with the tail slightly elevated. The caterpillars have long antennae, measuring around 3-3.5 mm, which they can maneuver flexibly. Each female can lay between 50-200 eggs.

The eggs are oval-shaped, flat, and ivory-white, with a diameter of 0.3-0.5 mm. They are laid individually on the underside of leaves, close to the main veins, and hatch within 3-4 days.

The young caterpillars are pale and have a swollen body in the middle, tapering towards both ends, with distinct body segments. The larvae undergo four instars, taking around 11-15 days to develop, or even up to 18-20 days under cooler temperatures. The full-grown caterpillars measure between 8-11 mm in length and pupate directly on the leaves.

Cabbage moth caterpillar can lay between 50-200 eggs per generation
Cabbage moth caterpillar can lay between 50-200 eggs per generation

When the larvae first emerge, their cocoons have a light green color. After about 2 days, they turn into a light yellow color and grow to a length of 5-7 mm, wrapped in silk threads. The cocoon stage lasts for about 5-10 days, depending on the temperature. After pupation for 2-3 days, the adult cabbage moths emerge. They mate and lay eggs, hiding on the underside of leaves or in secluded areas within the vegetable field during the day.

  1. The Impact of Cabbage Moth Caterpillar

The cabbage moth caterpillar is one of the most destructive pests of cruciferous vegetables. When they attack the vegetable garden, they create numerous holes in the leaves, making them appear withered. The caterpillars cause severe damage, especially during the early stages of vegetable development, where they burrow into the leaves and create channels. In their older stages, they consume the entire epidermis, resulting in perforations and exposing only the veins of the leaves. With high infestations, the caterpillars consume all the leaf tissues, leaving only the leaf veins intact, significantly reducing yield. They also feed on developing cabbage heads, distorting their shape and creating favorable conditions for disease infestation.

Cabbage moth caterpillar eating leaves, resulting in visible holes and damaged plants
Cabbage moth caterpillar eating leaves, resulting in visible holes and damaged plants
  1. Pest Control Measures

To proactively prevent the harmful impact of cabbage moth caterpillars on vegetables, several control measures should be implemented:

3.1. Cultural Practices

– Proper timing for cultivation.

– Practice crop rotation, avoiding planting crops from the same family like rice and maize. Instead, opt for intercropping with other families such as tomatoes, onions, and garlic to deter mature cabbage moths from laying eggs.

– Water the plants using a gentle rain-type sprinkler in the cool afternoon to disrupt the mating of mature moths and wash away some eggs and young caterpillars.

– After harvest, clean the garden area and remove any plant debris. Dispose of the debris outside the vegetable field or use it for composting to destroy eggs and young caterpillars.

3.2. Biological Control

– Utilize natural enemies of the cabbage moth caterpillar, such as predatory insects (spiders, praying mantids, grasshoppers) and parasitic wasps (Diadegma sp., Cotesia sp.).

– Use appropriate pheromone traps to catch and eliminate adult cabbage moths.

Implementing biological control measures can effectively manage cabbage moth caterpillar populations
Implementing biological control measures can effectively manage cabbage moth caterpillar populations

3.3. Chemical Control

– Cabbage moths have developed rapid resistance to many chemicals. To reduce resistance pressure, it is necessary to alternate the use of different chemicals, such as Silsau Super 1.9,3.5EC; Tasieu 1.9EC; 5WG; TC-Năm Sao 20EC, 35EC; Reasgant 3.6EC…

Note: Cabbage moths have a high potential for chemical resistance. To achieve effective pest control, it is essential to regularly change chemical groups and follow the proper application guidelines.

We hope that with the information we have shared, farmers and gardeners will gain a better understanding of cabbage moth caterpillars and employ timely methods to combat them, thereby achieving the highest efficiency in protecting their crops. Thank you for your interest in our article.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the main pest that attacks plants such as cabbage?
– The main pest that attacks plants such as cabbage is the Plutella xylostella linaeus, also known as the diamondback moth.

2. What are the characteristics of the diamondback moth?
– The diamondback moth has a length of 06 – 07 mm and a wingspan of 14 – 15 mm. The front wings are brown with a wave-like stripe, white in males and yellow in females. They have long hair on the edges of their hind wings and flexible antennae.

3. What damage does the diamondback moth cause?
– The diamondback moth creates holes in the leaves of plants, making them withered and reducing their productivity. The larvae of the diamondback moth also feed on developing cabbage, causing deformities and promoting the development of fungal diseases.

4. What are some cultural measures to control the diamondback moth?
– Some cultural measures to control the diamondback moth include proper crop rotation, intercropping with plants that repel the moths, watering in the afternoon to prevent mating and washing away eggs and larvae, and removing crop residues to destroy eggs and larvae.

5. What are some biological measures to control the diamondback moth?
– Some biological measures to control the diamondback moth include using predators such as spiders and predatory wasps, as well as using pheromone traps to catch adult moths.

Emilia Chaney
Emilia Chaney
My name is Emilia Chaney. I'm a social girl from Romania with a big smile and 3 passions: Agriculture, Travel and Social Media. I try to make this blog practical, full of great advice and inspiring ideas.

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