The cabbage caterpillar is a voracious insect that loves to eat not only the leaf that gives it its name, but also broccoli and rockets. It is so hungry that it devours these vegetables up to the stalk, leaving a trail of destruction in the garden.
To know if it is the vegetable that is causing the damage in your plantation, try to find also a yellow butterfly, of very pale tone, bordering the green and the white. The latter and the cabbage caterpillar are inseparable companions, because, in fact, they are different stages of development of the same insect, exactly as happens with other types of caterpillars.
The quickest way to get these invaders out of the backyard is to look for their eggs, as it can be easier than collecting the larvae. However, when the garden is educational, everything is part of the harvest, including their presence. How can we tell children that we do not want these butterflies? Who are we to prevent life from manifesting itself and the birds from having a feast?
Another suggestion is to cultivate a weed, an invasive plant is popularly known as turnip, whose scientific name is Raphanus raphanistrum L. It is also appreciated by the caterpillar, which can help to keep the cabbage, broccoli and rockets safe, thus leaving some plants to be sacrificed.
But when the production of your morning green juice is threatened, do not hesitate to make a good harvest of caterpillars and feed the chickens, birds or send them on a walk without return to their children’s school, where these insects will be welcomed with great joy, completing the studies on metamorphosis.
To avoid overpopulation of caterpillars in the garden, there are also other tricks and remedies. One of them, for example, is the use of a simple eggshell. Placed in the flowerbeds, in a very visible way, they work as scarecrows for butterflies, which when they see the eggs avoid the environment, because they believe that they are birds, predators of caterpillars. Another recommendation is to spray the vegetables with repellent teas, plus onion juice, tea or alcoholic dye of rosemary, smoke tea of rope and garlic, or else, chilli pepper added to the soap solution. This can be done once every 15 days.
When the infestation is in the larval phase, manual stipulation is the best way to control it. Taturanas and mandrovás are insects in their larval phase. The presence of butterflies and moths gives a hint of the places where they hide and their eggs and develop.
Many times, the appearance of these insects is due to the lack of balance between their natural predators, such as spiders, birds, reptiles, frogs and mammals, marsupials, bats, primates and even the loss of their habitat (place of origin). If there is no one to attack them, the caterpillars become plagues.
To re-establish the balance, the study of their habits is essential to help maintain the network of natural predators, however with climate change, we are not safe from these forms of imbalance. Studying the birds, preserving them and attracting them to your garden can help you understand the seasonality of these insects, which serve as a protein source for birds that migrate long distances.