As a gardener, you must have come across plenty of bug on your kales and you probably wonder, are bugs on kales safe to eat? Sure, it is safe to eat even with the bugs on it, but I’m sure you cannot stomach the idea of eating them.
But, worry not; as most of the insects found on kale don’t transmit any disease but only leave holes on the leaves. While this is unbelievably true, let’s look at the most common bugs and how to manage them.
1. Cabbage Worms
Cabbage worms are green larvae with faint yellow stripes. They are larvae of the white cabbage butterflies, which lay eggs on the underside of the kale. The eggs hatch becoming cabbage worms. The worms will eat the kale from the underside without been noticed. These worms will leave behind only the stem and veins of the kale if not managed.
You can remove this by hand and crush them. While this is time-consuming, there are other effective methods. One of the best methods of dealing with these worms is by the use of Bacillus thuringiensis every few weeks. Better still, you can also cover the leaves with row covers to prevent the butterflies from laying eggs on the kale.
2. Cabbage Aphids
The aphids are gray-green in color with dark heads. They also lay eggs on the underside of kale, where they hatch and feed on the kale. Their feeding style is by piercing the leaves and suck on the juice. In case of extreme sucking of the juice, it may cause infections causing the kale not to recover. You should remove the dead infested leaf immediately for composition.
You can treat your kale with insecticidal soap, although it will be hard to kill all the aphids. Nevertheless, there are a lot of insecticides that are effective against aphids. When spraying the kale, make sure you wet the leaf as the aphids are covered with wax protecting them. While cleaning your kale, please leave them in cold water for about 10 minutes to kill the aphids.
3. Harlequin Bugs
These bugs are very colorful and, as such hard to miss. They are very harmful to the kale and will destroy the plant if not promptly controlled. These bugs feed on the plant by sucking the sup out, making the plant wilt and die. To prevent crop damage, you can simply use insecticidal soap. Remove the bugs and drown them in a bucket of water with soap. Make sure you check for the eggs as well and drop them in the bucket.
You can also use spinosad to kill the bugs, although this takes a few days to take full effect. Studies have shown this to be one of the most effective ways to stop the Harlequin bugs.
When you ask if bugs on kale are safe to eat, it comes down to personal choice. The bugs that are found on the kale do not have any effects on people if consumed. They only damage the kale and reduce your harvest. With the bugs having no diseases harmful to people, it’s safe to say you can consume them.