Rex called it. He noticed the white-winged butterflies fluttering through our gardens and called them the culprits of the holes munched in our cabbage plants. I wasn’t certain. How were they responsible? They were just flitting around, wandering through, and then flying out to the yard beyond.

And then Jude found a few green caterpillars on the cabbage leaves, and I finally did some research:

“Found throughout the U.S., the cabbage worm is the larva of a common white butterfly with three to four black spots on its wings. The damage done by these caterpillars is similar to that of the cabbage looper — the pests chew large, ragged holes in the leaves of cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.” (

Aha! I told the boys about the caterpillars, and they were all over it. They filled a yogurt container with soapy water and got to work.

Jude is an expert bug and creepy crawler finder. He started plucking the plump camouflaged caterpillars off the front and backs of cabbage leaves, inside the tightly folded center, and along the stem. Each find was raised in the air and celebrated: “Number 12!” He handed them over to Rex, who dropped them into the water. Here are the stats, all found in about 20 minutes:

18 cabbage worms

2 cabbage worm cocoons

2 slugs

When no other culprits could be found, all three boys proudly admired their collection.


Thankfully, we have not had any other pests invade our gardens…that we know of. Rabbits stay away thanks to our four ever-prowling cats: Minnie, Coco, Uno, and Cloud. The gardens are close enough to the house that deer dare not come close…and if they did, they would be enthusiastically screamed and stomped at by three little boys. Nothing messes with their gardens.


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