How to Get Rid of Cabbage Loopers: (6 Fixes + Preventions)

Loopers can become a huge issue for gardeners as they cause great damage to your garden. Here we’ll discuss how they can be dangerous and share some effective methods for getting rid of loopers.

Garden loopers, referred to as cabbage loopers within the scientific community, represent a species of caterpillar that has the potential to pose significant challenges to horticulturists.

The moniker “garden loopers” is given to this particular breed of caterpillar due to their characteristic mode of locomotion.

They contort their bodies into a loop-shaped arch and pull their posterior forward to secure themselves to the substrate beneath them.

Failure to mitigate the presence of these pests in a timely manner may pose a substantial predicament for those tending to garden plots.

In this article, we’ll discuss how loopers can be dangerous for your garden and some of the most effective methods on How to Get Rid of Cabbage Looper in your garden.

How Cabbage Loopers Can Be Harmful

Loopers, particularly in the form of caterpillars, are a frequently encountered issue in gardens and can inflict harm to both plants and crops.

If unmitigated, these pests have the capacity to inflict substantial devastation on one’s garden, potentially leading to a widespread infestation.

1. Damage to Plants

One of the main ways in which garden loopers can be dangerous for your garden is through the damage they cause to plants.

These caterpillars feed on the leaves of plants, which can lead to extensive damage and even the death of the plant.

Garden loopers can devour enormous gaps in the leaves, which can further expose them to infections and insect damage, resulting in stunted growth, reduced output, and, in worst-case scenarios, the plant’s demise.

2. Spread of Disease

Aside from directly damaging plants, garden loopers can also pose a threat to gardens by transmitting diseases.

While consuming leaves, these caterpillars can potentially spread harmful bacteria and viruses, which can infect plants.

This practice could exacerbate the harm already inflicted upon the plant and, in severe instances, even lead to its death.

Moreover, garden loopers can transfer diseases throughout one’s garden as they traverse from plant to plant. This can result in extensive harm and a reduction in yield.

3. Bring Other Pests

The existence of garden loopers within one’s horticultural domain can serve as a catalyst for the attraction of a diverse array of other pests, which possess the potential to wreak havoc upon one’s plants.

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As these caterpillars consume the foliage of plants, they secrete chemicals that have the propensity to lure other insects, including but not limited to aphids and mites, to the area.

The introduction of such unwelcomed guests can exacerbate the damage inflicted upon one’s plants, further hindering efforts to thwart the spread of the infestation.

Furthermore, as garden loopers establish a greater presence in the garden, they may act as a beacon for predators, such as avian and rodent species.

This may inflict additional damage on the flora and generate supplementary complications.

4. Reducing the Effectiveness of Pesticides

In addition to the aforementioned concerns, the presence of garden loopers in one’s garden presents an additional peril, as these caterpillars possess the capability to reduce the efficacy of pesticides.

Due to their propensity for developing immunity to a plethora of insecticides, the utilization of conventional techniques for controlling their population becomes a challenging task.

Furthermore, as these pests traverse your garden, they could disseminate genes that spread resistance to pesticides to other pest populations, thereby intensifying the challenge of containing future infestations.

Averting Garden Loopers

How to Get Rid of cabbage Loopers

Although garden loopers pose a significant challenge for horticulturists, there exist several measures that one can undertake to preclude and manage infestations.

One of the most effective methods is to use natural predators, such as birds, to control the population.

Additionally, introducing beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps, can help control the infestation without harming your plants.

Handpicking and using insecticides can also be effective in controlling the population, but it is important to use these methods carefully to avoid harming beneficial insects and other wildlife.

Apart from these techniques, there are also various precautionary steps that one can adopt to mitigate the likelihood of a garden looper incursion in your garden.

Crop rotation, removing weeds and debris, and maintaining a clean garden can all help prevent infestations.

Additionally, planting certain crops together, such as marigolds and herbs, can help repel garden loopers and other pests.

Getting Rid of Loopers

Despite their seemingly non-harming presence, garden loopers can actually impose significant danger upon one’s garden.

Fortunately, there exist multiple approaches at one’s disposal for eradicating these pests and preempting their resurgence.

1. Identifying Cabbage Loopers

To commence the process of eliminating loopers from one’s garden, it is imperative to initially identify their presence.

Loopers, identified as the larval stage of moths or butterflies, are discernible by their unique looping motion as they traverse across plant surfaces.

These pests are frequently distinguished by their green or brown-colored bodies and are commonly marked with a conspicuous stripe running along their dorsal side.

They are known to inhabit a broad range of plant species, including but not limited to tomatoes, peppers, other vegetables, flowers, and trees.

2. Handpicking

One of the most straightforward and efficacious means of getting rid of loopers from one’s garden involves manually removing them from the plant surfaces, an approach commonly referred to as handpicking.

Though it might require a considerable investment of time, this method is a potent approach to managing minor infestations.

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Simply inspect your plants regularly and remove any loopers you find by hand. It is imperative to wear protective gloves while executing this task, as certain loopers can possess spiny or thorny projections that can prick the skin.

3. Applying Insecticides

Another effective way to get rid of loopers in your garden is to use insecticides.

Insecticides can be purchased at your local garden center or hardware store and come in a variety of forms, including sprays, specks of dust, and granules.

When using insecticides, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and use the recommended safety precautions, as they can be toxic to both humans and pets.

4. Using Natural Predators

Another way to get rid of loopers in your garden is to use natural predators. Many insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, feed on loopers and other garden pests.

Sowing specific plants, like dill and fennel, that are appealing to these advantageous insects can entice them to inhabit your garden.

You can also purchase beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, from your local garden center and release them into your garden.

5. Applying Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms that can be applied to your soil to control a variety of pests, including loopers.

These nematodes are harmless to humans and pets but can be effective in getting rid of loopers and other pests.

They work by releasing bacteria that are toxic to the pests, which causes them to die off. One can procure beneficial nematodes at a nearby garden center or through online retailers.

6. Using Bacillus Thuringiensis

Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), a natural bacterium, could serve as an efficacious agent to manage loopers and other caterpillar pests in your garden.

This bacteria is toxic to pests but harmless to humans and pets. This mechanism operates by releasing a toxin that disrupts the feeding behavior of these pests, ultimately leading to their demise.

Bacillus Thuringiensis can be purchased at your local garden center or online and comes in both liquid and powder form.

Preventing Cabbage Loopers in Your Garden

Acquiring the knowledge on how to eliminate loopers from your garden is crucial, but it is equally significant to deter their resurgence.

Presented below are some methods that one can employ to forestall the occurrence of loopers in your garden.

1. Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is an efficacious approach to preclude loopers and other pests from invading your garden.

This technique functions by planting crops from diverse plant families in different zones of your garden every year, thus preventing pests from amassing in the soil and on your plants.

For instance, if you grew tomatoes in a specific region of your garden this year, you would plant a dissimilar crop, such as beans or lettuce, in that area the following year.

This can help prevent loopers and other pests from becoming established in your garden.

2. Removing Weeds

As weeds can serve as a haven for loopers and various other pests, it is crucial to uphold a garden that is devoid of weeds, in order to impede their propagation.

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It is imperative to consistently extract weeds, particularly around the base of the plants, to preclude pests from concealing themselves and feasting on one’s flora.

3. Keeping Your Garden Clean

Maintaining cleanliness in one’s garden is an additional preventive measure that can be implemented to avert the establishment of loopers and other pests.

The removal of any expired or diseased plant material from the garden is critical, as this can generate a milieu that draws in pests.

Moreover, it is vital to keep the garden free of debris, including fallen leaves and branches, which can serve as a refuge for pests to conceal themselves.

4. Using Row Covers

Employing row covers is an exceptional measure to ward off pests from infiltrating one’s garden.

These covers are made from lightweight fabric and are placed over your plants to protect them from pests.

Row covers can be especially effective in preventing loopers and other caterpillar pests from damaging your crops.

5. Companion Planting

Companion planting is a technique that entails planting specific plants together to deter pests or lure beneficial insects.

For instance, planting marigolds along the border of your garden can prevent pests, whereas sowing herbs like parsley and cilantro can lure beneficial insects that feed on loopers and other pests.

How to Get Rid of Cabbage Looper FAQs

Q: What are garden loopers, and why are they a problem?

Loopers are caterpillars known for their distinct looping movement when they crawl.

They feed on leaves – harming your garden and crops severely.

This damage can result in reduced yields, stunted growth, and even plant death in severe cases.

Q: How to get rid of loopers?

There are multiple methods to eliminate loopers, like handpicking, applying neem oil, and spraying Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria to kill loopers.

Q: Can chemical pesticides be used to get rid of loopers?

Yes, chemical pesticides can be used to control loopers, but they should be used with caution.


Loopers can become a huge issue for gardeners as they cause great damage to the flora by spreading diseases all around your garden. Moreover, they can draw other pests, which can reduce pesticide effectiveness.

This can also result in a challenge for you in getting rid of loopers and control their infestations.6

By keeping your garden clean, removing weeds, and rotating crops, you can create an environment that is less attractive to these pests.

Additionally, using natural predators like birds, spiders, and parasitic wasps can help keep their populations in check.

And if an infestation does occur, handpicking, using insecticides, and using row covers can be effective methods to get rid of loopers.

By staying vigilant and taking proactive steps, you can ensure that your garden remains healthy and productive all season long!