[Skip to Content]
University of Illinois Extension

Cabbage Looper

Cabbage looper

Cabbage looper 

Frequency

2 (1 = rare 5 = annual) 

Severity

3 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed) 

Hosts

Cole crops  

Symptoms

Cabbage looper caterpillars get their name from the way they push the center of the body up into a large loop when they move. Full-grown larvae are about 1 inch long. Cabbage looper adults are brown moths that fly at night.

The caterpillars eat holes in the leaves and heads of cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collard, and kohlrabi.  

Life Cycle

Do not overwinter in the Midwest. Migrate from the southern states in early summer through September. Pupates on the underside of the leaf in cocoons. There are 2-3 generations in the Midwest.  

Management

The use of insecticides on cole crops will be needed if more than 10 percent of the plants are attacked in the seedbed or when plants are near harvest. Higher percentages of attack are acceptable on growing plants. Treat greens if 5 percent or more are infested.


Filed under plants: Vegetables

Filed under problems: Insects Damage

More information is available on Hort Answers.