Life Cycle of the Cabbage White Butterfly
History of the cabbage white butterfly
The cabbage white butterfly belongs to the family Pieridae and can easily be identified by its white wings and black markings which can be found on the wingtips, the wings of this butterfly also have small black dots. The cabbage white butterfly can be found throughout Asia, North Africa, and Europe.
In Europe, the cabbage white butterfly is known as the small cabbage white or small cabbage, in New Zealand as the small white, and in North America as the cabbage butterfly or cabbage white. What I found so amazing about the courtship of these butterflies is when the male spots a female and seeks to win her he will get her attention by flying up and down in front of her in a zig-zag pattern.
The male will catch her forewings with his legs and spreads his wings causing the female to lean in his direction. Once the male is successful and the female excepts his invitation the courtship begins, this is rather interesting to see these types of butterflies displaying this behavior. The host plants of the cabbage white butterfly are cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, horseradish, nasturtiums, broccoli, etc… Below, however, we will be looking at the life cycle and other facts about these butterflies.
The life cycle of the cabbage white butterfly
The cabbage white butterflies go through 4 stages which are egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult. These butterflies produce 2 broods per year, the female lays her egg singly on the underside of the host plant.
The eggs are creamed-colored or white and oblong, in about 4 days to a week the eggs hatch and the larva emerges. The larva has a green color with yellow strips that runs lengthwise and is covered with tiny hairs.
For the first two weeks, the larva feeds on the leaves consuming them almost entirely before they enter the pupal stage they will molt five times. Their big appetite causes them to grow very quickly outgrowing their exoskeleton.
The larva then attaches itself to the host plant by spinning a silk covering, the larva will begin to pupate in about two and a half weeks or thereabout. The larva will attach itself to the underside of a stem or leaf spinning a silk pad that is made out of silk.
Strands that are made of silk are also made by the caterpillar, the caterpillar uses these strands to attach itself to the silk pad. Inside of the exoskeleton, a beautiful transformation takes place. A chrysalis that is brown is produced. In 24 hours a beautiful butterfly emerges.
Unusual Twist about the Cabbage White Butterfly
Unlike other butterflies, the larva stage or the caterpillar has been known for causing damage to food crops such as cabbages, cauliflowers, and radishes. So what I have discovered is that these butterflies should be discouraged from laying eggs in your edible garden because of their vase devastation.
How to control the cabbage white butterfly garden invasion
1. Biological control is a natural way to eliminate the larva of the cabbage white butterfly, the use of ladybugs and lacewings are considered beneficial insects and will feed on the larva of the cabbage white butterfly. Installing plants in your gardens such as yellow button flowers, fennels, sweet alyssum, zinnias, cosmos white sensation, tansy, coriander, purple poppy mallow, dandelion, basket of gold, common yellow, and carpet bugleweed is a great choice. These plants will attract ladybugs and lacewings. This natural method of ridding your garden of insect pests is known as companion planting.
2. The use of a netting material that can be purchase from your garden center or hardware store will help greatly. Once this netting is purchased covering your plants will prevent the cabbage white butterfly from laying her eggs.
3. The use of sprays such as Bacillus thuringiensis has proven to give good success spray the entire leaves underside along with the stem. Before using this product read and follow the manufactures direction for the best results.
4. The use of decoys by installing artificial butterflies or spreading dry eggshells over the leaves is said to trick the cabbage butterfly into thinking that those leaves are already in use discouraging them from laying their eggs.
5. Insecticidal soap is also said to bring results.
6. The cold weather is a natural way also of ridding your gardens of these butterflies.
The natural habitat of the cabbage white butterfly
Their natural habitat includes fields, gardens, parks, urban areas, heath woodland, forest, and open spaces.
12 fun facts about the cabbage white butterfly
1. The pupae of this butterfly have a large external shell.
2. The cabbage white butterfly was introduced to the USA in the 1800s.
3. It’s said that these butterflies are easy to raise.
4. The cabbage white butterfly’s favorite spots are fields and gardens.
5. This is a European butterfly.
6. It’s very common throughout Europe.
7. As a caterpillar they eat cabbage but as an adult (butterfly) feed on nectar.
8.The eggs of this butterfly are shaped somewhat like a bottle.
9. The larva or caterpillar is covered with tiny hairs.
10. In captivity, the cabbage white can be feed sugar.
11. The adult butterflies are very active during the daytime.
12. The cabbage white butterfly can be found in the rocky mountains.
The final word about the cabbage white butterfly
The cabbage white butterfly as you have seen has a twist as they can cause massive destruction. These butterflies though found in the home garden are not welcome like other butterflies, the cabbage white, unfortunately, is not accepted, implementing control methods as was discussed above will bring control ensuring that your garden plants are growing healthy giving you a great yield.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.