Swede midge

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Sometimes it's nice to see that sometimes even you have issues in the garden that you have to deal with! There's always something.

The broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, and that whole Brassica family have cabbage worms and a lot of people know about them. Those little green worms are familiar, but that's about it. But no more.

There's another pest in town; it's called the Swede midge. Now, it's not from Sweden, but Swede is a term that refers to the whole group of cabbage family plants. It's a small fly that lays eggs in the growth points of those plants. The egg hatches into a little larvae. The larvae is half the size of a rice grain it's so small.

But it does a lot of damage. It deforms the plant and you can see this is a bunch of Brussels sprouts that I was growing and I did not cover, and you can see what happened to them. They are deformed. They aren't going to form Brussels sprouts. The plant survives, but it's really not going to produce anything. So you may as well pull these up or just cut them way back.

Swede midge started as a pest in New York, and now it's in Vermont, in northern and central areas. And it's probably going to be spreading. So if you see some of this damage in your garden, that's probably what it is.

How do you stop them? That's the key. They are working on sprays, but they haven't really figured the best ones yet. But one thing you can do is cover them with a material called micro mesh. It's kind of like tulle, the fabric used to make wedding veils or tutus!

It's a fabric that you can buy and you lay it over the plants. It prevents the adult fly from laying eggs. But it lets the sun and the water in and the plants are able to grow. And you can see from this other planting I have over here that I did cover, the plants are much healthier. They've got a few holes here and there from the cabbage worm, but for the most part, they don't have Swede midge damage so I'll be able to eat Brussels sprouts and broccoli from this these plants, but not from this other one that is just devastated.

So cover them up!

-By Charlie Nardozzi