Broccoli - good bug or bad bug?

Asked August 4, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

before I break out the insecticidal soap I am wondering if these little garden invaders are friend or foe. They are only on the undersides of broccoli leaves and move very slowly

King County Washington

1 Response

Looks like aphids, but I can't be sure without seeing them close up. Look at them, and see if they have projections off the back--like tail-pipes.Look at this photo so you'll recognize them. Those are cornicles, and aphids are the only insects that have them. Aphids are pear-shaped, like what I see in your image, and can be a lot of different colors from whitish, green, yellow, brown, to black and everything in between. You can probably get rid of them with a strong stream of water. WSU's Hortsense has a great fact sheet outlining your options.

They are probably not the ones making the big holes in the leaves, though--those are probably a caterpillar--the cabbage looper or imported cabbage worm. Here are Hortsense's fact sheets on those insects:
Imported Cabbageworm