University of Illinois Extension
Change Language

Imported Cabbageworm - Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower


Imported cabbageworm adults are white or yellowish–white butterflies with black spots on the wings. They first appear in mid April and they continue to be a problem until mid September. They attack heads of cabbages, flowers of broccoli, and curds of cauliflowers making them unmarketable. They fly during the day and lay eggs singly on the leaves of cole crops. The eggs hatch into velvet-green larvae that feed on the upper surface of the leaf leaving the midribs intact. The bright green pupa is attached to the lower surface of the leaf by a silky thread. The pest overwinters as pupae in crop debris. The life cycle is about 5 weeks and 3-6 generations can occur in a year. Defoliation can be severe enough to cause crop to be unsaleable or fit for consumption.


Bt insecticides, early planting, floating row covers in small gardens.


cabbage worm

cabbage worm