Something Eating My Cabbage Leaves

A forum to post photos and descriptions of plants and garden pests for possible identification by other Forum members. Identification may not be possible but it never hurts to ask.

Moderators: Forum_mod, Pam, Sam, Luzy, Bulbinella

Something Eating My Cabbage Leaves

Postby abrogard » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:57 am

I wonder if anyone can help identify this pest. Pyrethrum is not stopping it, nor is Dipel, nor is Eco oil.

It makes many holes in the leave as in the photo.

The edges show no obvious bite marks.

It cuts a hole rather than leaving a track.

In some places apparently we can see the 'hole' is being created by the death of that area so that it sinks down rather than is eaten out.

I can virtually never find any pest whatever - no grubs, no cocoons, no insects.

That was 'virtually' in one photo there you'll see a cocoon apparently sitting in one of these 'craters' though it is much smaller and perhaps has no relevance.

Some marks can be found of the same shape as these eaten out areas but which seem to show where something was - like perhaps a cocoon 'mesh' was fastened to the leaf. But nothing but whitish stuff there now and the green NOT eaten out.

All very puzzling for me. I would appreciate some help with this if anyone knows anything.

showing holes coming by subsiding rather than being eaten and shows 'abandoned' sites

showing the grub?

showing the holes...
User avatar
Posts: 371
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:12 am
Location: Murray Bridge, SA

Re: Something Eating My Cabbage Leaves

Postby tam » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:18 pm

Looks like white cabbage moth but do not know why you are not finding any grubs.
User avatar
Gardening Sage
Posts: 1134
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2005 3:26 pm
Location: Burpengary Qld

Re: Something Eating My Cabbage Leaves

Postby Systema_Naturae » Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:59 pm

I would hazard a guess at earwigs.

The only come out at night so it might explain why you haven't seen them and why none of your pesticide applications have had any effect.

They're pernicious little buggers and while you'll never get rid of them all together you can limit their presence.

Reducing their populations is the key. There are a number of ways. Earwig traps are a good option. I use a scrunched up newspaper stuffed into a plastic pot turned upside down - every day (if I remember), I bag the newspaper from all the pots and throw it in the rubbish. There's always earwigs hiding in the paper.

In one particularly bad year for them, I dotted drowning traps around the vegetable garden - takeaway containers with water in them and a drop of detergent to which I added a few drops of anchovy oil - they love the smell and are attracted to it. You half bury the container in the bed and have a few 'diving boards' over the sides. The earwigs crawl onto them, attracted by the anchovy oil, and drop into the water and drown.

I only ever use such traps when seedlings are establishing because it's when they're most vulnerable, larger plants can recover to a large extent. Once plants get to a certain stage I stop bothering.

Best of luck!
Posts: 384
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:11 pm
Location: Melbourne, Northern Suburbs

Re: Something Eating My Cabbage Leaves

Postby abrogard » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:43 pm

Can you say that's commensurate with earwig damage? Holes like that? And areas like - sunken but not eaten through? The other thing I notice is wisps, strands of fine white stuff trailing away from some of them.

It'd be nice to have it pinned down so's I can take one look in future and know what I've.

But I'll try to catch earwigs anyway. In fact I've had a couple of traps set for some time and haven't caught much. They are plastic containers - small yoghurt containers - with vegetable oil and soy sauce in them. That's the prescription I was given.

I'll get some anchovy paste or something tomorrow.

You don't bother when the plants get large? But see the size of that leaf I photographed. And let me say I've got leaves measuring about 300mm in length and more all eaten out by them.

Don't know if I need a new thread but what about slugs? I put down slug and snail pellets and thought that was enough. But now we find some cabbages rotten inside and find a slug or some slugs in there. I'm thinking they're living in there. Not getting out and getting into the snail pellets at all. Could that be? How to deal with them?

And I've got cabbage quite savagely eaten down in what looks like a strange manner to me. I'll start a new thread and post a picture for that one.


How's that for pest attack?
User avatar
Posts: 371
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:12 am
Location: Murray Bridge, SA

Return to Plant & Pest ID

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests