Diagnosing cabbage white butterfly

Larvae of cabbage white butterfly are often found in canola crops. The larvae consume leaves but numbers are very rarely high enough to cause serious damage to the crop.

Cabbage white butterfly caterpillar
Cabbage white butterfly pupa
Cabbage white butterfly adult

What to look for


  • Large irregular holes chewed in leaves.
  • Seldom feed on floral parts of the plant when foliage is available.

    Insect Nymph

  • Velvety green caterpillar up to 30mm long with a pale yellow stripe down the back.

    Insect Adult

  • Large moths with 30-40mm wingspan and predominantly white with black wingspots and markings.

What else could it be

Condition Similarities Differences
Diagnosing diamondback moth Green caterpillar eating holes in leaves Smaller lighter green, and more irritable often dangling from a silken thread when disturbed

Management strategies

Spraying foliar
Spraying foliar
  • Cabbage white butterfly is not an economic problem of canola but can be controlled with foliar insecticides.

Where to go for expert help

Page last updated: Monday, 1 May 2017 - 12:14pm