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Deterring Cabbage Butterflies

butterfly eggs on kaleWe have an unwanted visitor in our backyard – the cabbage butterfly. Though these little white butterflies are absolutely beautiful to look at, they lay eggs on all our cruciferous veggies (as pictured), and those eggs turn into hungry caterpillars who decimate rows of leaves overnight. We pick off eggs and caterpillars daily, but haven’t been able to keep up with them and are tired sharing our bounty with these little buggers.

The solution? We didn’t want to spray anything on our garden, and have no interest in killing beautiful butterflies, so we needed to deter them somehow. After some intense searching through our gardening books and the web, we found a solution that sounded just crazy enough to actually work: make fake cabbage butterflies out of plastic and stake them around the desired plants. The theory is, the real butterflies won’t lay their eggs there since it looks like there is already too much competition, and they fly away looking for a more suitable plant.

So we got crafty! Using old plastic tofu containers and some scrap metal for stakes, we cut out the butterflies:

…made a hole for the stake:

…fed the metal stake through:

…drew on their little markings:

…and voila!

We are so happy to report, it actually WORKED! After just a few days the number of eggs dropped dramatically, and now we have about 10% the amount we did before the butterfly experiment. That is certainly a number we can keep up with, and the best part is we never had to spray. 🙂