The Cabbage Miller
Egg of cabbage miller much enlarged.
With the first approach of spring comes swarms of large green flies which bask in the March sun on the south sides of buildings. They are not with us long, however, until we notice flashes of white quickly moving about from one early weed to another. These are the advance guards of the cabbage millers or butterflies. All through the cold winter they remained in the chrysalis stage stuck to the sides of houses, fence posts and in other protected places, awaiting the first breath of spring. The first adults to emerge find no cabbage on which to lay their eggs so they are compelled to use other plants such as pepper grass.
The eggs are very small and are usually placed on the lower edge of the leaf. These hatch and the small green worms appear. Throughout the summer there are a number of broods produced and an enormous amount of damage is done. Just before frost the last caterpillars search for protected places where they pass to the pupal or resting stage for the winter. No cocoon is spun by this caterpillar.
Where measures are not taken to control the cabbage worms they destroy much of the cabbage crop each season. The white butterflies can be seen any day during the summer visiting cabbage, mustard, radishes and other similar plants. By destroying all of the worms and millers in the early spring one has less trouble later. This can be done by hand picking, or where the patch is large by spraying with a poison solution to which soap is added to keep the solution from rolling off in large drops. Poison can be used until the heads are well formed, but if the first worms in the spring are destroyed, later spraying is unnecessary though an occasional handpicking will help.
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