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...I have an explosion of them in the polytunnel having carelessly had the door open during the stinking hot weather not much mind ...but too much as I now have half my crop dessimated. My question squishing them the only way to get rid and will I ever be rid.....I've murdered what seems like hundreds today........and will I be better off binning all the brassicas and starting again?

In the past and as mentioned on OTG a good few years back...
For such events...I've always chopped up rhubarb leaves, stuck them in a bucket of water for 2-4 weeks...Now the eventual liquid bally Stinks and takes some washing off your hands, gloves of the rubber kind may help, believe me...Its rank.
Dilute the liquid when ripe, at least 50/50...and spray....on a regular basis, before the dreaded cabbage white arrive...and during ....

Pretty sure they are the ones decimating your brassicas...

Cost nowt and is a very old remedy....

I've sprayed even once the bally thing have started chomping...its always worked for me...
AT least worth a of luck....

hi Slipster depends on where they have chomped if just on the outer leaves no problem they will carry on growing depends on the brassica broc ,cabbage sprouts should survive depends on how bad squish all caterpillars you find turn the leaves to find the eggs rub off with fingers  and spray the plants  with soapy water .I have made an outer door for both my poly's and hinged it to open outwards wood frame with fine plastic mesh covering I can then open the main door and shut the mesh door when it gets warm hope this helps  

Thanks both  for the replies
We do actually have net doors but it really was ridiculously claustrophobic and now have an infestation.....I just keep finding them    i'll keep on and do as you suggest and spray and see how I get on   not sure i'll ever be rid of the beggars at the minute and am not hopeful for my winter greens

I have to say in all my lifetime I have never seen so many cabbage white butterflies as I have this year.  

I really feel for you, it is totally disheartening to get so far with a crop only to have it annihilated.  For the first time in 45 years I don't care, as the seedling cabbages I put in early in the year were never transplanted as the decision was made to sell up and move.  But I still find it hard to appreciate their prettiness even though I now wont suffer from their destruction

You used to be able to get a spray on fungus/bacteria thingy, which I knew about though never used, but presume it worked.  You mix it with water, spray it on the crop and it infects the caterpillars and they die.

If it is of interest I will track it down for you if its still marketed

Thanks Sue.....I've just been talking to my dad and it may be Py?    i'm off to the garden centre to see if I can get it......i'm really not made for physical caterpillar killing... makes me do a little sick...
and there are so many of the little beggars
David Smith

Seems to be a very "good" year for the Cabbage Whites - the 'lotties are blessed with clouds of the buggers!

The brassicas I'm trying to grow next to the currants are protected by the netting from the depradations of our resident fat pigeons, but the flutterbys don't mind that, so they are becoming full of holes - and because they're netted it's more trouble to get to them to squish etc.

On the plus side, the folk who abandoned Plot 48 left quite a quantity of micromesh netting behind, so more recent transplants are under that, which protects from insects as well as birds. Still a sod to weed....

Best wishes

PS Any one know what would have caused my Russian Red Borcole to start to rot from the growing tips down the main stem, making a very unpleasant smell...had to pull them all up, shame.

Py....heck that takes me back....not seen it for years....used to be supplied by Erin Peat.....Remember it oh! so well from the exhibition stands I used to build...

And yes simple soap and water spray also works..... ...loads of it....

When I had the plots kept a bottle of washing-up liquid in the G/H ...always at hand....plenty and often when the beggers were around..,.,

We are using a mixture of a few drops of washing up liquid and two desert spoons of Epsom salts (magnesium Sulphate) to 5 litres of water sprayed onto the plants and most importantly the underside of the leaves. ................. we are holding the Caterpillars in check.

Regardless ...of what you decide to must and I stress must spay the under side of the leaves.....
spot on Gareth...

I took great pleasure in pulling up some infested cabbages this morning and feeding them to the pigs, caterpillars and all.

Meat & vedge.....,  

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