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What to do with cabbage white caterpillars?...

Julia1983Julia1983 ShropshirePosts: 139
Hello all,
I've noticed that there are a lot of cabbage white caterpillars on my nasturtiums this year. I'm not too bothered about the nasturtiums being eaten but I know the cabbage white is considered a bit of a pest and i'm not sure what to do about them. I am trying to garden organically and for wildlife. Once they have munched the nasturtiums will they move on to other things in the garden?  If I just leave them where they are will the birds eat them? 


  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149
    Leave them be. They will soon head off to pupate over winter. I've planted nasturtiums just for the butterflies but the wretched flea beetles have moved in and wrecked everything.
  • Julia1983Julia1983 ShropshirePosts: 139
    Are they tiny black things?  I've got some of those too!  We've had peacock and tortoiseshell butterflies this year too, they've loved the buddleia, lavender and hemp agrimony :) i'm not sure which plants they lay eggs on though...  think i've found another gardening knowledge gap!
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869
    If you garden for wildlife there are no pests. No goodies and baddies.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,251
    I try to encourage them to eat the nasturtiums in the hope that they’ll leave the broccoli and kale alone 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141
    Just net the brassicas they can’t lay eggs on them then.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PennypitstopPennypitstop Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire.Posts: 29
    My nasturtiums were absolutely covered with cabbage white caterpillars, I guiltily try and control them for a couple of weeks then give up and leave them to it, the nasturtiums gradually disappear, but the caterpillars do not seem to transfer on to anything else, it seem as though the time when the food source (nasturtiums) has gone it is time for the caterpillars to do their winter thing !, We are all happy together I get to enjoy the flowers for a while and they get to enjoy the feast.
    It does make you realise why the farmers have to spray their crops, when you see the amount of caterpillars we get in our little garden, if it was a cabbage crop it would have been decimated !!!
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