Beware the Lady-in-White
Looks can be deceiving
Pretty, right? Surely no harm could come from such lovely looking butterflies…. Right? Wrong. So wrong. Looks can be very deceiving. These butterflies are definitely bad news in the garden.
Cabbage White butterflies, Pieris rapae, are an introduced pest species in the family Pieridae. Originally from Europe, these pretty butterflies can cause havoc in your garden if you are growing anything in the brassica plant family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustards, etc.). Technically, its not actually the butterfly that causes the damage – they just set the stage by making the caterpillars, aka evil baby butterflies, that destroy your crop.
The caterpillars aren’t nearly as pretty as the butterflies. They’re kinda just greenish-blue blobby looking things. And boy can they eat! Tons of holes all over what used to be lovely leaves. Now, skeletonized. They have definitely been feasting on my broccoli and kale.
And they keep coming back too! I will go out and check all my plants by hand (since I have a relatively small patch of broccoli and kale I can check every plant), then smash all the caterpillars I find. Sometimes I’ll pile them in a bucket and take them over to the neighbors chickens for a snack. I know it sounds terrible, but they really are just little eating and pooping machines. And they are an invasive species. They will also eat the actual broccoli or cauliflower heads (the parts we eat), not just the leaves…
When I feel confident my produce is once again safe, I return to the air-conditioned house. Then I see her. From the window. The deceitful Lady-in-White. Just ‘innocently’ flitting about the backyard… And over to my garden bed. Again. Fast forward a couple weeks later- and I’m picking caterpillars off holey leaves again. This cycle will repeat throughout the summer…
Sometimes you don’t want pretty things in your garden. Even if they are lovely fluttering butterflies. Like the Cabbage White Butterfly.
Check out these earrings that recycle the butterflies from pest control efforts: Cabbage White Butterfly Earrings. Its nice when things aren’t wasted… Even deceitful butterflies.
We’re still trying to figure out how to add comment boxes to the blog, so in the meantime, send me an email!
Join the email list
Want Bug News stories & announcements sent to your inbox? Join the Bug News email list
If you enjoyed this story, or have Cabbage White Butterflies in your own garden, you may enjoy the results of my pest control/recycling/craft project:
Support the blog!
Like my blog? Want to help keep the new content coming and the pages ad free? Consider becoming one of my Patreon Patrons! Any amount, big or small, helps me spend more time creating and less time trying to keep the lights on. Patreon Patrons can also get exclusive access to monthly newsletters, story sneak peeks, story requests, and more! Please consider supporting the blog and check out my Patreon Patron support page.
Ok, you say, but what is this Patreon thing you are talking about? Patreon is a service that helps connect content creators with folks who want to help support creative endeavors. Patreon is setup to be able to safely handle the financial side of transactions so both the patron and the creator can be confident their information is secure. You can read more about what Patreon is HERE.
Not interested in a Patreon monthly subscription? Prefer to make a one-time contribution? We have that option too! Help support the blog with a one-time donation through PayPal instead! Thank you!!