Bug of the Week: Cabbage Looper Eggs and Thrips

Our penstemons have been flowering.

Nectar from these flowers are a favorite food of hummingbirds and all sorts of bees.

A few days ago I also noticed some eggs on the flower petals.

They are the eggs of the cabbage looper moth. We’ve seen them in the yard before.

What is that sliver-like thing that is walking over the eggs?

It is a thrips!

Different species of thrips feed on a wide variety of items, including flower pollen and insect eggs. I’m not sure whether this one was feeding or not.

In any case, the eggs had all disappeared the next day. They may have hatched or they may have been eaten.

Who knew so much drama could occur within a single flower?

Do penstemons grow where you live? Are they blooming yet?


  1. Sandra @ Albany Kid

    It’s such a joy to see the colorful flowers & insect life. Everything is still dormant in my area as we wait for spring to make its presence known.

  2. Mike B.

    Cool post! We have lots of penstemons, but they are a little ways away from blooming. I’ll look for the eggs when they do!

  3. Roberta

    What kind of penstemons grow there?

  4. Roberta

    We’re coming your way next month. I understand there was snow this week?

  5. Mike B.

    We actually have a lot of different kinds of penstemons here- I probably have 3 different types planted in the yard. They seem to do very well and remain somewhat evergreen.

  6. Scott C.

    Hi Roberta,

    I recently noticed similar eggs in a very geometric pattern on the leaf of a pink Dahlia bloom in our garden here in Flagstaff, AZ. You say there are from the Cabbage Looper Moth… should I leave them there or get rid of them (are they a pest)? I’d be happy to email you a photo – it is a very precise pattern on the leaf – fascinating! Thanks for this post!

  7. Roberta

    Well, it might be difficult to tell what kind of eggs they are from a photograph. Insect eggs are not that easy to tell apart. On the other hand, dahlia is a listed host for cabbage loopers (http://www.plantwise.org/KnowledgeBank/Datasheet.aspx?dsid=54832) Are you seeing any holes in the leaves? If so, you might want to look for the light green larvae and pick them off.

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