There has been a lot of talk lately about the upcoming arctic blast. It will likely seem even colder since we've had a fairly mild winter so far.


What You Need To Know

  • Even with the upcoming cold spell, winter has been mild so far

  • Invasive pests can easily survive winter unless there are prolonged cold spells

  • This year, watch out for white butterflies in your garden

  • Get garden supplies early because gardening continues to be a huge trend

Just Some Cold Won't Cut It

This depths of this cold spell will likely not be lengthy. That may sound good to you, but it's also good for invasive pests that will survive the winter and cause trouble in the spring and summer.

Timothy McDermott of Ohio State's College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences says that to cut back on bugs that will feed on our cabbages, melons, and cucumbers, we need a lot more cold than we're getting.

"The pupae in a chrysalis of invasive pests like the cabbage white butterfly are incredibly hardy in the winter," says McDermott. He adds if you see a white butterfly in your garden, it's not a good thing.

The white cabbage butterfly is now common and they are seen flying around from early spring to late fall. 

They lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves in your garden. The eggs will hatch in three to seven days and begin to feed on the plants.

Other invasive bugs that will cause issues in the garden are stink bugs and squash bugs. These also can survive in the winter as long as there's no crushing cold.

Be Watchful

McDermott says the number one thing you can do for pest prevention is to be aware of the threat right away. After you plant your garden in the spring, immediately use row covers and pesticides.

He says getting a handle on things can be difficult once you start to notice the bugs and cabbage butterflies in your garden. 

Cabbage white butterfly. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Start Scouting Early

Another thing you may want to do early is get your garden supplies and seeds before they run out.

Last year, the pandemic led to a major boom in gardening. McDermott says some growers are already running low on stock.

Plan and get your supplies now, use pest control measures immediately, and watch for any larvae hanging out in your garden.

There are undoubtedly good things about a milder winter. But it seems the pests we try to keep out of your houses and gardens enjoy it as well.

Timothy McDermott teaches gardening, so if you're interested in learning more, go here.