One of the most frustrating things about being a cabbage farmer is dealing with pests like Japanese beetles, aphids, and whiteflies that can cause severe damage to your crops.
While many commercial pesticides are available on the market, these products can be expensive and often contain harmful chemicals. Using homemade bug spray is the best way to promote sustainable farming.
Homemade bug spray for cabbage plants combines apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and water for Japanese beetles. If you want to control aphids, white vinegar, castile soap, and water do the trick. If you wish to control whitefly, try neem oil, water, and household dish soap.
In this article, I’ll discuss making homemade bug sprays for the bugs that attack cabbage plants. You’ll also know the various bugs that affect cabbages and how to identify them. Keep reading!
Bugs That Eat Cabbage Plants
Before making a homemade bug spray, knowing which bugs are eating your cabbage plants is essential. The three most common pests that affect cabbage plants are the following pests.
Japanese beetles are one of the most destructive pests in America. They are common in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.
These shiny, metallic-green insects are about a half-inch (1.27 cm) long and have six legs. They feed mainly on the leaves of cabbage plants.
Symptoms of Japanese Beetles include:
- Large irregular holes on your cabbage leaves.
- Skeletonized leaves.
- Wilted, yellow, or dead plants.
Japanese beetles are likely the culprit if you see these symptoms on your cabbage plants.
Also read: Holes in Cabbage Plant Leaves? [What needs to do]
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that range in color from green to brown and black. They cluster on the undersides of cabbage leaves and suck the sap from the plants.
Aphids can reproduce quickly, and a heavy infestation can weaken and kill a cabbage plant.
Symptoms of Aphids on cabbage plants include:
- Yellow or wilted leaves.
- Curled or distorted leaves.
- Aphid honeydew (a sticky substance) on the leaves.
Whiteflies are small, white insects that fly in clouds when disturbed. They feed on the sap of cabbage leaves and excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. This honeydew can attract other pests, like ants, and cause sooty mold to grow on the leaves.
Symptoms of whiteflies on cabbage plants include:
- Yellow or wilted leaves.
- Leaves covered in honeydew.
- Sooty mold on the leaves.
The reason for discussing these bugs is to help you identify and develop an effective homemade spray for each. For example, if you are trying to eliminate Japanese beetles, you will want to use a different recipe than if you’re trying to eliminate whiteflies.
Check out: Cabbage Leaves Turning Brown? [Causes & Cares]
Homemade Bug Spray for Cabbage Plants
Now that you know the common bugs that affect cabbages and how to identify them, it’s time to start making homemade bug spray for each.
The ingredients and procedure for each recipe are listed below.
Japanese Beetle Bug Spray
- Apple cider vinegar
- Liquid dish soap
It’s worth noting that the quantity of vinegar and soap you use depends on the amount of water. For example, you should mix 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water with 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
The following procedure will help you with this:
- Put 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water into a bucket.
- Add 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and shake well.
- Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and mix. The soap enables the mixture of foliage for better results.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, ready to spray on your cabbage plants.
How To Spray Japanese Beetles
Now that you have the spray, it’s time to start the work. The way you spray is key to eliminating these beetles.
A pump sprayer is necessary if you’re working on a large farm. Otherwise, a small spray bottle will do the work.
The following tips will help you spray your cabbage plants the right way to eliminate Japanese Beetles:
- Start spraying early morning or late evening when the beetles are less active.
- Be sure to spray the entire plant from top to bottom.
- Pay special attention to the undersides of the leaves where the beetles hide.
- Repeat this process every few days until you see results.
Read: Should I Cut Off Brown Hydrangea Blooms?
Aphid Bug Spray
- One tablespoon of castile soap.
- One tablespoon of white vinegar.
- One gallon (3.79 liters) of water.
- Pour all ingredients into a bucket and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, ready for spraying.
- Head to your garden to start spraying liberally.
How To Spray Aphids
Aphids are small and delicate, requiring a different spraying technique than Japanese Beetles. You’ll need to be more careful when spraying to avoid harming the plant.
The following tips will help you spray your cabbage plants the right way to eliminate aphids:
- Start by spraying the undersides of the leaves where the aphids hide.
- Be sure to spray the entire plant, from top to bottom, to kill even aphid eggs.
- Hold the sprayer close to target the bugs and their eggs when spraying on top of the leaves.
- Repeat this process every few days, especially when it rains, until you see your cabbage plants free from aphids.
Whitefly Bug Spray
- Regular dish soap
- Neem oil.
- Pour water and neem oil into a bucket in a ratio of 2:1 and mix well with a stick.
- Add a few drops of dish soap and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, ready to use.
How To Spray Whiteflies
Whiteflies are tiny insects that fly in clouds when disturbed. They can be difficult to target because of this.
The following tips will help you spray your cabbage plants effectively to kill whiteflies:
- You must saturate the plant—leaves, stems, and all.
- Pay close attention to the upper and underside parts of the leaves.
- Repeat this process every few days as needed until you see results.
- Be sure to wait until the spray has dried before harvest.
Have a look: Hydrangea Turning Brown? [Reasons & Cares]
Other Sustainable Ways To Control Cabbage Bugs
Apart from using homemade bug spray for cabbage plants, there are other sustainable ways to control cabbage bugs.
Some of these other methods include:
Handpicking Your pests From Your Cabbage
Handpicking is a sustainable way to remove bugs from your cabbages. However, it’s time-consuming and tedious; if you have time to inspect all the cabbages around your garden, go for it.
It’s best to do this in the early morning or late evening when the bugs are less active. You’ll be knocking the bugs from the plants’ leaves and killing them to prevent spreading.
Using Row Covers for Your Cabbages
Row covers are pieces of fabric you can lay over your cabbage plants to keep pests out. They work by creating a physical barrier between the plant and the bug.
You can find row covers at most gardening stores. Be sure to get the right size for your plants.
Install a Floating Row Cover
You’ll need tall stakes, hoops, and row cover fabric to install a floating row cover.
Here is the procedure:
- Insert tall stakes or hoops into the ground around your cabbage plants. Ensure they’re tall enough that the row cover fabric won’t touch the plants.
- Drape the row cover fabric over the hoops or stakes, ensuring it hangs to the ground.
- Use rocks or soil to weigh down the edges of the row cover fabric so that pests can’t get in.
Attracting Natural Predators of Bugs that Infest Cabbages
This option is one of the biological bug control methods. You can attract natural predators of the cabbage bugs to your garden to help control the population.
Some of the most common predators are:
- Parasitic wasps.
You can attract them by planting flowers or buying them from a gardening store.
Once you have them in your garden, they will keep your cabbage safe by eating the bugs.
Harvesting Your Cabbage Plants
Once you’ve gotten rid of the bugs plaguing your plants, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Cabbage is a versatile vegetable that you may use in many dishes.
Before harvesting, you should know whether they are mature and ripe. The best way to do this is by consulting the maturity period for your variety. According to the University of Minnesota, most cabbage varieties take between 60 and 100 days to mature.
If you want your cabbage to keep growing, you must be careful about how you harvest it. A key consideration is not to damage the root ball when pulling the cabbage out of the ground.
The best way to harvest cabbage is by using a sharp knife to cut the stem about an inch from the base of the plant.
Here is the procedure:
- Use a sharp knife to cut the stem about an inch (2.54 cm) from the base of the plant.
- Gently loosen the dirt around the root ball and lift the cabbage from the ground.
- Be sure to wash your cabbage before eating or cooking with it.
If you don’t want your cabbage to regrow, you can cut the root ball out completely. Alternatively, put on gloves and grab the base of the plant to pull it out of the ground, root ball and all.
Also, have a look at the posts below:
- How To Get Seed From Cabbage Plant
- How Do I Know if My Cabbage Plant Is Dying?
- How Do I Keep Bugs From Eating My Cabbage Plants?
- How Fast Does An Areca Palm Grow
- Philodendron Selloum Soil Mix
- Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water?
- Hydrangea Bush Not Flowering [Causes & What to do]
A key to making an effective homemade bug spray for cabbages is to use the right ingredients by knowing the type of bug you’re targeting. Components that work for one bug may not be effective on another.
Homemade bug spray for cabbage plants provides a sustainable way to get rid of bugs without harsh chemicals. The benefit of using sustainable methods is that they’re good for the environment and your health.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.