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Old 07/22/05, 12:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 151
insect eggs in cabbages

I went to pick a cabbage yesterday and noticed eggs in my cabbage leaves where they join the plant. They are also on the broccoli plants in the same place and in the lettuce near the ground where the leaves are joined. They are small clusters of black eggs. Each egg is round in shape and maybe 1/2 the size of a bb or smaller, but there are many in a cluster. There are many clusters on each plant. I did a google search, but can't seem to find a picture to identify them. Does anyone have an idea of what they are? We are in the midst of a drought and extended hot weather. I live in Northern Wi. We have had many days of temps in the high 80's - low 90's and very little rain. I've been watering regularly from both a sprinkler and soaker hoses. Oh-- the leaves on the cabbages and broccoli have small holes too. I've never really had pest problems in the garden, so I don't know what I'm dealing with. Thanks!
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Old 07/22/05, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 273
Sounds like the eggs that come from the white "cabbage" butterfly.

Those eggs will hatch, then you will have little green worms eating up your cabbage.

I guess you could dump some kind of poisonous insecticide on the plant and kill them --- I am an organic farmer, so I would never do that, and don't know what to tell you to do now.

But this is one of those problems that can be prevented in the future if you know how to do it -- you just grow the cabbage under floating row cover. If you seal that cover well enough that no flying insects can get in, then you will depreive the ability of the butterfly to reach your veggie. If the butterfly can't reach the veggie, then they cannot lay their cabbage worm eggs.

You might consider growing under a floating row cover next year.
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Old 07/22/05, 06:18 AM
MaineFarmMom's Avatar
Columnist, Feature Writer
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Maine
Posts: 4,568
You can us bt on cabbage worms. It's organic.

When you cut the cabbage you should be able to peel back the leaves and be rid of the worms. If you're growing broccoli and cauliflower you'll probably find them there also. You can soak those in salt water to kill most of them. The rest will die when you cook them, but watch for them while you're eating.
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Old 07/22/05, 10:52 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,470
I grow organically, too, and have found rotenone to be very effective on cabbage loopers, as well as Colorado Potato Beetles and Japanese Beetles. It has a faster knock-down rate than Sevin. The warnings say not to use it near water source, such as lakes or streams, and not to apply while bees are active (I apply just after the dew falls).

I have trouble finding some of the controls recommended on this forum (locally), but rotenone is widely available.
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Old 07/22/05, 11:58 AM
yellowlab2's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Slower Eastern Shore, Md
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by MsPacMan
I guess you could dump some kind of poisonous insecticide on the plant and kill them --- I am an organic farmer, so I would never do that, and don't know what to tell you to do now.
You might consider growing under a floating row cover next year.
Yup ...poisonous chemicals it is.... sevin-10 will do the trick and if you read the bag it can be done with no ill effect to you and yours. I am definately an advocate of the organic method, however, sometimes you gotta go to the other side. What you do next year is a different story, but now you need to fix this crop. Bob
Work hard, play a little, eat well.
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Old 07/22/05, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 151
Yep, that must be what they are because I picked some broccoli today and there were green worms. I picked them off and am soaking in salt water. Thats how I always clean stuff. No poison here! I won't use the stuff. I would rather lose my stuff than use poison. I have a smallish garden, so the loss would be disappionting, but not devastating. I will have to get floating row covers next year. It's frustrating to see all those nasty eggs. Later today I am going to cut a head of cabbage and peel the leaves back to see how deep they go. Its amazing that I have gone this long without pests. My neighbor loses her cabbage every year so I will share all of your advice with her. She is organic too. Thanks for the advice everyone! At least now I know what the little buggers are and how to prevent them in the future.
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Old 07/22/05, 06:37 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 2,470
Ok, I said that rotenone was an organic compound, which is true, however I just read an article that said it has been linked to Parkinson's Disease (which scientists have long-suspected was caused by pesticides) While the US government allows its use in organic crops, I don't believe I'll be using it anymore.

Here is the link, if anyone wants to read it~
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Old 07/23/05, 01:28 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: South Central Wisconsin
Posts: 14,801
Colleen, they were NOT eggs in your brassica plants. What you are seeing is the frass, or manure, from the worms. The cabbage butterfly usually lays only a single egg per leaf. She will land on the edge of the leaf and extend her abdomen under the leaf. The egg will be tiny and white or yellow. It is usually found about a half inch or so from the edge on that under side of the leaf. If you watch a cabbage butterfly in action, and observe her in action, you will learn to recognize the eggs and destroy them before they hatch.

Rotenone is the accepted method of controlling them in our local organic community gardens. Although one may find fault with that, it is one which may be targeted for a single insect pest by applying it only where needed. Others, such as bt, will attack anything and everything over a wider area. To be frugal, I watch for combination Poultry and Garden Dust. Same good stuff but half the price! Rather than everyone in the garden complex having to buy a can for only a few plants, I'm charged with protecting a few of the plots. That way I can be assured that it's not being used willy-nilly on everything. So far, so good!

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