How to Deal with Cabbage Moths

Cabbage moths are the bane of anyone who wants to grow brassicas. They are little white moths who lay eggs on the underside of the leaves of cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. Those little eggs hatch into small green worms that can wreak havoc by eating holes into your cabbage, and finding their way into broccoli and cauliflower florets. 

There’s nothing quite as gross as going to munch on a fresh piece of broccoli only to find a worm in it. These little worms are the number one reason I see people giving up on growing brassicas, but there are a few easy solutions that I know can make all the difference.

The first and most effective way to keep cabbage moths from laying eggs; is to stop them from doing it in the first place. 

This can be accomplished through the use of row covers. Row covers are made with a fine material that allows for rain and sun to pass through, while keeping the moths off the plants. 

The trick to using row covers is to make sure that the fabric is tucked in all the way around your plants. This method, if used correctly can entirely eliminate the moths.


Another method that is quite effective is the use of BT Biological Insecticide. 

Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally occurring bacterium that attacks the digestive system of certain pests. I am always concerned about pollinators and BT does not impact them at all. 

It is very specifically formulated for specific worms. I am an organic gardener and I am extremely careful about that I put on my plants and in my soil and BT is approved for organic gardening. Although BT has been shown to be safe for humans if used correctly, it is always wise to do your own research and make a decision you feel good about. 

I use BT sparingly and only if an infestation has occurred.

If you are in the mood to feel like a child again head to the dollar store and purchase a couple of butterfly nets. Catching and disposing of the moths can be surprisingly effective. If you have children offer them a net and make a game of it. I offered my children $1.00 for every moth they caught. Apparently there were many more moths than I thought since they came in with over 60! We adjusted the rate after that.

No matter what method you choose to use in your garden, I always recommend soaking your brassicas in salt water for 30 minutes and checking your veggies well for any worms that may have escaped your moth prevention program. 

If you practice these methods you will have the best chance at having a successful and rewarding harvest of all those delicious brassicas.


Happy Growing!



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