Garden Pests that Love the Taste of Broccoli

The Brassica family has a long list of members, but out of all its cousins, broccoli is the only one least affected by common garden pests. However, it doesn’t mean it’s totally pest-free. There are still a few pests that are partial to the taste of broccoli.

Some of these pests include:

1. Loopers –As they mature, loopers develop to become butterflies with yellow or white wings. To control these pests, you can spray your plants with Dipel or Thuricide. These are green or gray caterpillars that feed on the leaves of the broccoli plant. They cannot easily be spotted as they tend to blend with the color of the plant itself. Left unnoticed, the leaves of your broccoli would be full of holes and might leave your crop starving.

2. Cutworms –To control cutworms, you can place a cardboard collar about two inches below and above the soil level of your broccoli crops. Unlike loopers, cutworms chew on the stems of broccoli. You would recognize it when you see striped caterpillars that are about a little over an inch long crawling most of the time at the base of the broccoli where the moisture is. Cutworms can either be gray, green, or brown.

You would know you have flea beetles feasting on your crops if you notice the leaves and roots of your broccoli has been chewed on. Adult flea beetles have shiny, hard and darkly-colored shells. They are about 1/16 inches long and they jump when they are disturbed.

3. Flea Beetles –As larvae, flea beetles feed on roots and look like white, cylindrical worms.

Get rid of these pests by keeping the area where your broccoli grows clean of debris. You can also use Rotenone pesticide on your crops but check with your county agent for proper use and recommendations specific for your area. Rotating crops every year would also help prevent flea beetles in the future.

4. Snails –Overwatering your crops would make the bed too moist and encourage the proliferation of this pest. Instead, let the top of the soil dry out in between watering.
Remove boards, bricks and other debris where they can hide, lay their eggs and thrive. You can also make bait stations around the perimeter of your garden to attract snails away from your crops and into the bait.A pest that’s very damaging because it can affect the entire plant, snails can make large areas of your plants and seedlings missing.

5. Root Maggots – Just like what this pest’s name says, root maggots affect the roots of broccoli. They look like whitish maggots that feed on the roots of your plant and grow into flies ¼ inch long three weeks after.

By then, the leaves of your broccoli crops would be wilted and their growth stunted. As many as three generations of root maggots can multiply per growing season.

To control root maggots, you can treat the soil with Diazinon before starting to plant. Yearly plant rotation would also help avoid this pest.

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