How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Imported cabbageworm—Pieris rapae

Cabbageworm larvae are green and very hairy, with an almost velvetlike appearance. Older larvae may be up to 1-inch long and often have one faint yellow orange stripe down their backs and broken stripes along the sides. Adults are white with one to four black spots on the wings.

Life cycle


Cabbageworm larvae chew large, irregular holes in leaves, bore into heads, and drop greenish brown fecal pellets onto edible portions.


Handpick. Natural control by virus and parasites, such as tachinid flies, can sometimes be effective. Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad are very effective. Egg laying can be prevented by using floating row covers.

Imported cabbageworm larva
Imported cabbageworm larva

Pupa with tachinid fly exit holesPupa with tachinid fly exit holes

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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