KC Gardens

Suddenly many small white butterflies

Q&A

I am seeing dozens and dozens of small white butterflies - many more than I have ever seen before. Are other people seeing them as well and what are they? - Lori -

Comments

  1. 9 months ago

    The little white butterfly is the European Cabbage Butterfly (aka Imported Cabbage Worm. Just like you, I have never seen so many, they are everywhere in the garden.

    This butterfly emerges early in the spring and has continual broods until fall. They feed on cabbage and other related plants.

    According to my butterfly book(Butterflies and Moths of Missouri, it was introduced accidentally in 1860 in Quebec, by 1877 was reported in Missouri, and by 1883 reported as a pest on cabbage.

    There is a bumper crop of them this year. Why, I don’t know. Weather?

    Hope this answers your question.

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  2. Kansas City

    9 months ago

    This is good to know. We’ve seen a blizzard of them too. Thanks.

  3. 9 months ago

    Thanks! They are really pretty to watch.

  4. 8 months ago

    they will destroy fall cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower plants in the garden…then lay eggs and leave behind loads eggs that result in masses of very hungry cabbage worms that defoliate plants quickly.

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