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Natural Methods to Get Rid of Cabbage White Butterfly Infestations

Discover effective natural strategies for eradicating cabbage white butterflies, also known as Pieris brassicae, from your garden. These methods are safe and chemical-free.

by BioGrow

Among the cabbage pests, the most common and perhaps the most dangerous is certainly Pieris brassicae, commonly known as cabbage white butterflies, cabbage butterflies, or large cabbage white. There are various ways to eliminate this pest using natural methods once an outbreak has infested our plants.. Some of these methods are mechanical, while others involve the use of products that are approved for organic farming. Naturally, none of these techniques for dealing with this common cabbage pest involve the use of chemical pesticides.

Let’s explore these techniques and learn how to implement them.

Eliminating Cabbage White Butterflies with Mechanical Methods

Eliminate the cabbage white larvae
Among the natural methods for eliminating cabbage white butterflies, mechanical remedies should be given top priority. These are methods that can be implemented immediately, and they include insect nets, electric traps, and manual removal. Let’s delve into them in detail.

Insect Nets

To prevent the cabbage white butterfly from laying its eggs on our plants, we can use insect nets as a first line of defense. These nets serve as a physical barrier, preventing the pest from reaching the vegetables. These nets are widely used by those who practice organic fruit farming, as they also provide protection against the notorious stink bugs. Additionally, they protect against hail, which is another significant issue for open-field cultivators.


To install insect nets, you need to create tunnels, almost like small greenhouses. Make sure to use sturdy supports to prevent the wind from blowing away the structure. The nets should have a very fine mesh, and you should put them in place immediately after planting. You can find those best suited to your needs at specialized stores.

Electric Traps

Another mechanical remedy for eliminating cabbage white butterflies is electric traps, similar to those used in gardens for mosquitoes. Adult butterflies fly at night, and like all moths, they are attracted to light. Placing these electric traps near your crops and turning them on at night eliminates cabbage white butterflies decisively, albeit somewhat drastically. However, electric traps cannot differentiate between pest insects and beneficial insects, so they may harm field biodiversity. Another limitation is that electricity may not always be readily available in the garden. We recommend placing electric traps under a covering to protect them from rain. These traps are relatively inexpensive. You can find them online (for example, here).

Manual Removal

If you want to eliminate cabbage white butterflies from your plants using non-invasive methods, you can resort to manually removing the larvae. This is the most natural method, although it is the most labor-intensive. It involves working in the early morning when cabbage white butterfly larvae are most active and busy feeding on cabbage leaves. Equip yourself with a bucket and walk among the plants, turning over the underside of leaves where the cabbage white butterfly usually hides.

Eliminating Cabbage White Butterflies with Natural Remedies

cabbage butterflies larvae
Among the natural methods to eliminate cabbage white butterflies, there are two types of products. Both are natural and effective, specifically tomato macerate and Bacillus thuringiensis varietà Kurstaki.

Tomato Macerate

A macerate made from tomato leaves and females is effective when sprayed directly on the larvae. This eliminates cabbage white butterflies. The caterpillar’s epidermis is highly sensitive to the solanine found in the macerate. Upon contact with the liquid, the larva jumps and contracts, essentially being eliminated directly. Making tomato macerate is simple; you need 2.5 kg of finely chopped leaves and females macerated in 10 liters of water for 3 days. The mixture should then be diluted at a 1-to-10 ratio.

Bacillus Thuringiensis varietà Kurstaki

Among the products permitted for use in organic farming, the most effective for eliminating cabbage white butterflies is Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki. This is a product readily available online. You do not need a license to use phytosanitary products for its purchase. Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacterium naturally present in the soil. It acts on the insect’s digestive system and is highly selective, being effective only on lepidopteran larvae, such as the cabbage white butterfly. Therefore, it is excellent for preserving field biodiversity. It is unnecessary to use the product on adult butterflies. For a more effective action, as it works through ingestion, spray it aiming to hit the larvae directly. Perform this organic treatment during the cooler hours of the day, preferably early in the morning, to keep the vegetation moist for longer. For optimal spraying, consider using a shoulder pump, an essential tool for any gardener.

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