Insect Management for Crucifers (Cole Crops) (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Mustard, Radishes, Turnips)

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Cruciferous vegetables are a large and increasingly important crop group. A number of insects feed exclusively on crucifers and affect all of the crops listed in the title above. Because most of the newer pesticides are being labeled for the entire crop group or for a subset, either head and stem Brassicas (like cabbage and broccoli) or leafy Brassicas (like kale), there are no longer specific tables for individual Brassica crops at the end of this chapter. Instead, exceptions are given in the Notes column. Other crucifers not listed in the title but which also have the same pest complex include head and stem Brassicas such as Brussels sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and Chinese mustard, and leafy Brassicas such as bok choy, mizuna, and rape greens. Check pesticide labels carefully to see if these crops are included. Radishes and turnips are included in the root vegetables group, even though they are also crucifers and have similar pest problems. Separate tables of pesticides for radishes and turnips are included.

The diamondback moth is the most serious pest of crucifers in Florida. Cabbage looper is also considered a major pest, although it has been less of a problem over the past decade. Insect pests that have been considered major in the past and are only occasionally a problem now include aphids (turnip, green peach, cabbage), harlequin bug, beet armyworm, cabbage webworm, and cutworms (black and granulate). Yellowmargined leaf beetle is a particular problem on mustard and Chinese cabbage, especially for organic growers. Cross-striped cabbageworm is more of a problem on broccoli and cauliflower than it is on other crucifers. Aphids, cutworms, and wireworms are the major insect pests affecting radishes.

S. E. Webb
University of Florida IFAS Extension