Pieris rapae

Beginner Rearing Instructions: Cabbage White

Photo Life History:  Pieris rapae

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows; Forest, Valley Lakes & Rivers; Desert Hills & Mountains; Urban-Suburban;

Host Plants: Brassica nigra; Brassica oleracea; Isatis tinctoria; Descurainia pinnata; Cardaria draba; Cleome serrulata; Sisymbrium altissimum

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Almost any mustard will serve in the lab.  You may want to avoid Descurainia sophia; but, even that might work.

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly; Do NOT place live females in glassine envelopes for ANY period of time.  They stress easily and can die.  Also, they can lose legs when placed in a glassine envelope.

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Portable Cages; Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs: Look on the ventral surface of  leaves of mustards towards the bottom of the plant.  Although this butterfly can be extraordinarily common to the point of being a pest, finding immatures isn't always easy because of how common its host can grow in disturbed areas.  Always remember to check isolated host plants when looking for eggs or immatures of this butterfly.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Look for Caterpillar Strip Patterns.  Cabbage white early instar caterpillars burrow a hole into the leaves of mustards.

Caterpillar setups:  Open Bucket; Closed Container; Potted Plant; Twin Cup Method

Larva to Pupa:  

How to Find Pupae in the Field:

Number of Broods per Year: 2-5 broods; depending upon location.

Overwintering Stage:  Pupa. 

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Refrigerator

Post-Hibernation Strategies: Expose pupae to warmer temperatures, long-day photoperiod, and intermittant humidity (mist spray with water once or twice a day).

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:   Provide larvae with healthy host plant

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every two to three days using a closed container; every 5-6 days using the open bucket method.

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes: