What To Do About Bugs On Broccoli

Growing your own in a vegetable garden takes plenty of effort until you have the experience. With each crop comes a set of skills and vast amounts of knowledge. It quickly gets frustrating when you see your prize broccoli and other vegetables suffering from an insect infestation.

Aphids or plant lice can be one of the prime culprits, and luckily, there are many natural remedies to deal with broccoli bugs eating leaves.

Cabbage aphids are not fussy and can eat brassica plants, such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, and others.

Although broccoli is the critical vegetable of concern in our guide, use the information on your other crops with equal importance. Bugs and creepy crawlies can spread disease and illness, so holes in broccoli leaves could be the start.

By the end, you’ll find out precisely what is eating my broccoli leaves and how to keep bugs off broccoli plants. (Read Where Does Broccoli Come From)

Bugs On Broccoli

Broccoli Insect Overview

Insects love broccoli plants almost as much as broccoli growers do. Here are some of the most common broccoli pests and how to deal with the problems they cause:

Cabbage Worms: The larvae of moths and butterflies are the pests in question. You may notice white or gray moths fluttering around the plant, which is a solid sign that their offspring will soon cause difficulties.

Cabbage worms eat on broccoli leaves and do significant harm. Pick as many as you can by hand. Insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad are effective against young larvae.

Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects with a waxy coating that feed on the underside of broccoli leaves and Brussels sprouts with gusto. The results are wrinkles and discoloration. A strong spray of water or insecticidal soap from a hose knocks them off the plant.

Treat serious infestations of the gray-green aphids using a few drops of insecticidal soap or neem oil.

The Cabbage aphid is among the weirdest pests you can find in your garden. It is worth noting; cabbage aphids simply outlast their predators if you have beneficial insects in your garden.

Beneficial insects can parasitize turnip aphids (Lipaphis erysimi). An insecticide spray, such as Neem Oil or an equivalent, should be used when 2% of your plants are infested with an aphid infestation.

Flea Beetles: The foliage is pierced by these tiny black insects, which leave countless little holes. Continued feeding can cause serious damage to seedlings and lower mature plant yields in cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables.

Use a pesticide that is designated for flea beetles. They spend the winter under the soil, and thorough end-of-season cleanup can help to minimize their population.

Cutworms: Young seedlings are cut off at ground level by cutworms. They work at night, so you can wake up to find your broccoli row has been decimated. Plant robust seedlings rather than seeds and use a cardboard or fabric “collar” to wrap the stem section at the soil level. Treat the plants with Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad sprays to keep them safe.

Treating of Common Broccoli Illness & Disease

  • Bacterial and fungal infections affect broccoli growth. Brugmansia has several leaf spot illnesses.
  • Cabbage Aphids suck out the plant sap, and one of the first signs is plants wilt and turn yellow.
  • Avoid growing cole crops in the same region over three times every three years.
  • Plants should be grown in spring or late summer so you can have a fall and winter crop.
  • Powdery mildew makes broccoli plants look like they’ve been floured. The broccoli leaves are the first to be affected. Spores can spread swiftly to stems and heads if not regulated.
  • For most fungi, plenty of sunlight, air circulation, and dry plants help.
  • When cultural treatments cannot manage pests and diseases in broccoli, you may feel compelled to use insecticides and fungicides.
  • Always go for the safest option. Read the labels carefully and precisely. Keep chemicals out of the reach of children and in their original containers.

How To Deal with Broccoli Aphids and Other Insects

Dealing with Broccoli Aphids

Hose Your Plants

Cabbage Aphids and spider mites can be easily eradicated from broccoli plants by hosing them down. These pests can stifle growth and, with a cabbage aphid, transfer disease through their feces around your vegetable garden.

Concentrate the hose’s spray on the foliage and stems of the broccoli plants. It’s best to do this later on a sunny day so that the plants have time to dry before the weather changes.

Note that if you have light yellow thrips in your garden, they can cause issues, yet they eat spider mites. (Read About Aphids On Pepper Plants)

Hand Pick Insects

Controlling pest numbers can be as simple as hand-picking pests directly from broccoli plants. Remove the creatures off the plants and throw them in a big jar filled with soapy water to kill them.

Inspect stems, leaf undersides, and all plant components thoroughly because many bugs are green or skilled at hiding. To prevent injuring the environment, choose your targets carefully.

Use Soap Spray

The fatty acids in dish soap kill feeding bugs on contact. Aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies are the pests that it works best against. Commercially available insecticidal soap sprays are pre-mixed or concentrated.

It’s fairly easy to produce a DIY version by mixing three tablespoons of mild non-detergent liquid soap with 1 gallon of water.

Fill a backpack sprayer or a clean spray bottle halfway with this mixture and coat broccoli stems, upper and lower leaves completely. After the rain, use soap spray every few days. Neem oil can be used in much the same way.

Floating Row Covers

Pests such as cabbage maggot flies, flea beetles, darkling beetles, and stink bugs are deterred
by floating row coverings besides aphids in your vegetable garden.

Drape a lightweight fabric over your plants and tuck the edges into the soil or cover them with rocks to keep pests away. Flying insect pests that feed on broccoli plants or lay eggs that mature into feeding larvae are kept at bay by the light- and water-permeable covers.

Use Wood Ash

Pests that eat broccoli are repelled by wood ash, which dehydrates them as they approach the crop. Broccoli seedlings can be destroyed by cutworms and cabbage maggots, for example. Slugs and snails may do a lot of harm to broccoli plants, both young and old.

Wood ash can decorate individual broccoli plants or a bed. After the rain, you must reapply it. Are you concerned that the wood ash may make your soil excessively acidic? Instead, use garden limestone.

Crop Rotation

Harvest rotation won’t benefit your current broccoli crop, but it will help future crops, according to Harvest to Table. To avoid pests and diseases, move your broccoli to a different garden bed next year.

Root cyst nematodes, for example, damage plant roots, limiting proper plant growth. It’s advisable to wait two years before growing broccoli or any other cabbage-related plants.

Cabbage Moths

Grayish-white eggs are laid near the buds of young host plants by moths. Moths lay their eggs on the underside of leaves at an angle along the leaf stems as the plants mature.

When fully grown, larval webworms are around 12 inches (1.27 cm) long. They are grayish-yellow in color and have five prominent brownish-purple lengthwise stripes. Their heads are black with a V-shaped mark on them.

Larvae eat on both sides of the partially folded leaves of plant buds when they first hatch. They feed beneath a protective web formed of silk-like strands that they develop after a few days.

The larvae are sometimes found on the outer leaves or in the space between the core plant stalk and the leaf. Debris and webs at the feeding site can be used to detect them. (Learn About Watering Strawberries)

Cabbage webworms tunnel into the buds of young plants and kill them. The destruction of the original bud results in the formation of secondary buds that will not mature in time for harvest. The head generated from the original bud may be disfigured if the harm is not severe.

Feeding on the older plant’s outer leaves normally causes no harm. Treatments for other pests are usually enough to keep the webworm at bay.

Cross-Striped Cabbage Worm on Broccoli

Cross-Striped Cabbage Worm

The cross-striped cabbageworm moth (Evergestis rimosalis) has a 1 inch wingspread. The front wings have dark brown zigzag lines and are mottled yellowish-brown to brown. With a series of five or six small, indistinct darkish dots running across the free end, the rear wings are lighter, nearly translucent at the base and darker at the front.

The eggs are put in masses of 20 to 30 on the undersides of cole crop leaves. They’re a semi-transparent bright yellow tint and overlap like shingles on a roof.

The larvae are light green to grayish when they first hatch and are about an inch long when fully developed, with multiple horizontal black stripes running down their bluish-gray backs.

A longitudinal black stripe runs down each side of the bright yellow stripe below that beneath it. The body’s underside is pale green with yellow mottling.

The sensitive terminal buds and heads of cole crop plants are preferred by cross-striped cabbage worms, which boreholes in them. The eggs are placed in clusters, and the larvae hatch in enormous numbers on particular plants.

Hand-pick caterpillars in a produce garden. Further treatments such as using insecticidal soap made from soapy water usually keep these pests at bay.

Harlequin Bugs On Broccoli

Harlequin Bugs

The harlequin insect (Murgantia histrionica) is a flat, shield-shaped stink bug with red and black speckled markings on its back (3/8-inch or 9.5 mm length). The immature stage, known as a nymph, has the same markings as the adult stage but is smaller and rounder. The eggs are arranged in two rows and resemble small white kegs with black rims.

The harlequin bug can severely harm crucifers, Brussel sprouts, and other vegetable crops.

The collard or cabbage plant wilts turn brown and die as both the adult and nymph suck the sap. Younger plants are more vulnerable to feeding. Larger plants can handle higher numbers, but their growth and yellowing will be affected.

A few drops of neem oil or dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle can help deal with these, even if it doesn’t kill them.

Beneficial Insects and Companion Planting

  • Aphids on broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and other cole crops are naturally preyed upon by various beneficial insects or natural predators for your garden bed. Lady beetles, lacewings, hoverflies, ladybugs, and parasitic wasps are some insects that may eliminate cabbage aphids for you.
  • To get the “broccoli worms” out of the broccoli trees, soak them in a sink full of icy water with 1/4 cup of salt and two tablespoons of vinegar.
  • If you’ve never heard of companion planting, you’re losing out on crucial information that will revolutionize the way you grow forever. Planting zinnias, fennel, and catnip, for example, will keep spiders, aphids, and other pests away.
  • If you have aphids on your peppers and other plants, don’t plant nasturtiums. Aphids are drawn to them, and the infestation becomes even worse.

Discovering that your plant aphid infestation is a terrifying experience. You’ll be an expert in pest control and dealing with future problems once you’ve absorbed this information on how to eliminate cabbage aphids on broccoli.

You’ll gain confidence in dealing with future challenges and plant diseases, and your vegetables will reward you with a bountiful, nutritious product because of your efforts.

What To Do About Bugs On Broccoli

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