Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Cabbage centre grub (114)

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  • Worldwide distribution. On members of the brassica family, i.e., cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and radish, but also amaranth and eggplant. An important pest.
  • Eggs pink, difficult to see, laid singly or in small groups; larvae with pink/brown stripes along sides.
  • Young larvae mine leaves, older ones bore into stems and buds; plants die or have multiple heads as the central shoot is killed and side shoots develop.
  • Cultural control: inspect nurseries and crops regularly; look for frass and silk; plant far from old plots; weed; use trap crops, e.g., mustards or Chinese cabbage (Bok Choy); destroy trap crop before eggs hatch.
  • Chemical control: in household plots, PDPs to safeguard natural enemies (chillies, neem, derris, pyrethrum); in commercial plots, grow under nets; use Bt (Bacillus thurungiensis) sprays against caterpillars when young.
Common Name

 Cabbage centre grub, cabbage webworm

Scientific Name

Hellula undalis. Another species found in Hawaii and warmer parts of Europe, Asia and Africa is known as Helllula rogatalis. At one time, it was thought to be the same as Hellula undalis. It is a moth of the Crambidae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Waterhouse DF, Norris KR (1987) Biological Control Pacific Prospects. Inkata Press. Assistance was also provided by Mike Furlong, University of Queensland, Australia and Wilco Liebregts, Eco-Consult Pacific, Fiji; and Herbison-Evans D (2020) Hellula undalis (Fabricius, 1781). Butterfly House. Australia. (; and from Shrestha D, Webb SE (2016) Hellula rogatalis (Hulst). Featured Creatures, Entomology & Nematology. UF/IFAS, University of Florida. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.



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