BAG BUG! … at least a bag bug to have in the garden…
These first two photographs were borrowed from www.butterfliesandmoths.org
This labeling of the Green Cabbage Worm as a bag bug has been a painful claim to make as I do love to have butterflies in the garden and I really try not to discourage their larva from growing. Other butterfly larva nibble on my garden crops without significant damage. The Green Cabbage Worm, on the other hand, is incredible destructive to garden crops. Especially Kale, Collard Greens, and Broccoli Rabe. This is the one bug that I fight most of my garden battles with.
The green cabbage worm can be tough to spot because they are the same green color as most of your garden greens and they like to hide out on the underside of the leaf:
Or right in the stem part of the leaf:
Their destruction is hard to miss however. If left alone, all your leaves will end up looking like this:
If you do cannot spot any green cabbage worms but notice a lot of dark green little droppings on the leaves, take a closer look! They are there somewhere! Here is the cabbage worm alongside some of their droppings:
In early spring, once my garden begins to grow, I inspect the underside of the leaves to try to detect the eggs before they hatch and pick them off. If I missed any, I will know for sure! The next step I take is I pick off the green caterpillars by hand. You can avoid having to do both these steps by covering your plants with a light mess to allow water and sunlight through but to avoid butterflies and other pests who try to lay eggs on your crops. If you are stuck picking the caterpillars off by hand and you happen to have chickens, feed them to your chickens! They will love you forever!
If you are a little late in searching for them, they may have already eaten their fill of your crops and set themselves up in their chrysalis:
If you see any Cabbage White Butterflies fluttering around your garden, they are probably laying eggs on your greens. One way to help prevent infestation is to look for and pick off the eggs they lay. Their eggs are small, yellow, oval-shaped eggs that are laid on the underside of the leaves. They are tiny and hard to find so you really have to look. Do you have any kids? Send them on a scavenger hunt for tiny, yellow eggs! Here is a close up shot of one of the eggs:
This is how the egg looks on the leaves at from a normal view-point:
Hard to see it? Here, I’ll help point it out:
Here is a website with some more information of the Cabbage Worm and what to do if you have them in your garden.