Pests on Kale

Asked September 28, 2015, 5:59 PM EDT

I love growing and eating kale but there are little tiny flying insects that cover it and make the leaves holy. I harvest and eat it anyway, but is there anyway to keep the pests off that doesn't require harmful pesticides? Do you know what they are and will a row cover help? They are so tiny I can't even see them, look like little specs flying.

Baltimore County Maryland kale white flies flea beetles

1 Response

If the flying insects you see are white, they are white flies, but they are not making the holes.

If the insects are actually jumping and black, those are flea beetles. Yes, they make small holes in kale. Here is how to control them: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/insects/flea-beetle

Larger holes and more extensive feeding would be caused by large caterpillars. There are several that will feed on kale such as cabbage looper and imported cabbageworm. Here is help for them from our Grow It Eat It section of the website: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/insect-pests-vegetables

ECN