Cabbage aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae) are small, gray-green insect pests that feed on certain types of plants, known as brassicas. They can cause significant damage to crops and tend to attack younger plants.
Getting rid of cabbage aphids as soon as you notice them is critical.
What Are Cabbage Aphids?
Cabbage aphids are a type of aphid that attacks the brassica family:
- Brussels sprouts
They are greenish-gray but tend to appear white or gray because of a substance they secrete.
This type of aphid lays eggs on the undersides of leaves during the fall months. These eggs hatch in the spring and spread.
These cabbage aphids produce females with wings that ride the wind currents to spread during spring and summer.
What Damage Does Cabbage Aphids Cause?
Like other types of aphids, cabbage aphids leave certain signs on crops. Leaves wrinkle or shrivel, turn yellow, and curl.
Unfortunately, an aphid infestation tends to stunt a plant’s growth.
The cabbage aphids excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that contaminates the harvest.
How To Control Aphids?
Getting rid of cabbage aphids can be easier if you catch the signs early on. In a large garden, start treating when you notice at least one aphid on several plants.
It’s important to check regularly and continue treatment for about two weeks.
If you notice cabbage aphids on plants, start with a strong spray of water from your garden hose and a good, old-fashioned soaking.
It should knock the aphids loose and make it difficult for them to find the plant again. Then, you will want to try one of the treatments below for at least two weeks.
Chemical Treatments for Cabbage Aphids
Cabbage aphids are persistent and outlive many of their natural predators. You can easily make an insecticidal soap in your kitchen.
Combine a few teaspoons of mild, liquid Dawn dish soap with one quart of water and mix well. Either spray or wipe the soapy water mixture on your plants and let dry. Repeat every few days for up to two weeks.
In cases of severe infestations, you may need to use a conventional insecticide. There are plenty available that won’t harm your plants but will kill the cabbage aphids.
Conventional insecticides can be problematic for many gardeners. You may want to consider alternatives.
Organic Aphid Control Methods for Getting Rid of Cabbage Aphids
You may want to avoid chemical treatments, especially if you have kids or pets. If so, you have a few options.
- Introduce aphid predators to your garden, like ladybugs, parasitic wasp, or lacewings. Keep in mind that the cabbage aphids can outlast many beneficial insects.
- Spray natural oils, like neem oil, on your plants to kill the cabbage aphids.
- Randomly spray cold water on the plants throughout the day.
- Spread flour on your plants. It won’t hurt them, but it will give the cabbage aphids serious digestive problems.
Tips for Cabbage Aphid Prevention
It’s possible to take some steps to prevent an aphid infestation before it becomes a problem. Following some preventative methods will not ensure you don’t get more aphids. But it can make things more manageable for you.
- Control weeds around the target crops to make them less hospitable for the aphids.
- Inspect any transplants before planting them in your garden.
- Try an organic treatment early in the season, preferably before June 1, when they are less mobile.
- Use mulches or diatomaceous earth around your plants to deter the cabbage aphids. Details on Diatomaceous Earth and Aphids
- Remove all old plants as soon as possible. Cabbage aphids can survive the winter, even in dead plant tissue.