Cabbage butterfly update

cwbdecoy Cabbage white butterflies have had a lovely time with my broccoli this year. There are several conditions that make brassicas very attractive to these pests and the brown cabbage moth. See Cabbage white butterfly.
My problem was that I inadvertently added some very alkaline compost to that area of the garden, (See recent post on Compost pH) and it is taking a while for the soil to get back to a neutral pH.

After spending a week or so removing eggs, squashing tiny caterpillars, or feeding larger ones to the chooks, I remembered a tip someone gave me long ago to deter these pests but have not needed to use before. The tip was to slip the plastic clips that seal loaves of sliced bread onto the edge of some of the Brassica leaves. White seals to deter the C W butterfly and beige ones for cabbage moth. The theory being that the adult butterflies and moths will “think” that eggs are already being laid on these plants and they look for another food source for their larvae.
My broccoli plants are looking healthier already and I have not found any more eggs under the leaves, but I don’t know if the seals are working or the pests are no longer present in our area. Has anyone else tried this tip?

3 thoughts on “Cabbage butterfly update

  1. A really good homemade spray is 1 tablespoon of molasses to 1 litre of water. Dissolve the molasses in a little boiling water first then top up with cold water. Spray the plants 1 -2 times a week or after rain and I had no problem with Cabbage Moth or other munching critters. Worked on all sorts of plants.

  2. I’d also read that scattering egg shells around, presumably crushed up somewhat, does the same job as your bread ties. My broccoli were decimated this year until I employed my children at the rate of a sultana per caterpillar. The chooks loved ‘pillar pickin’ time.

    Good one, Jessie. You are definitely executive material, but don’t tell Gina Rinehart you can get people to work for sultanas. : D
    There is some logic to the egg shells – they leach calcium into the soil (although not immediately) and this helps where the pest attack is caused by the topsoil being slightly too acidic for Brassicas. Roughly crushed egg shells are a great addition to the compost heap where they help prevent the mix from becoming too acidic. – Lyn

  3. That’s a great idea! My mother makes little white butterflies by cutting a small rectangle of white plastic bag and tying the middle with a piece of wire she attaches to the brassica. It flutters in the breeze like a real butterfly, but perhaps a white bread tie would do?!
    That’s brilliant Jo. Clever Mum. – Lyn

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