Thursday, July 11, 2013

One Dozen Worms

That is how many Tomato Horn Worms (or perhaps this one is really a Tobacco Horn Worm after reading the descriptions I found here ) I picked off of the hanging tomato plants ! They are the larval stage of a very large brown moth known as a hummingbird moth.

If you see these large green caterpillars on your tomato plants (they also like potatoes, peppers and eggplants), pick them off otherwise they will strip your plants and quite quickly, too. Once you get those clingy critters off of your plants, you can squish them (eeeeeeeeeeeew!), drown them in soapy water or feed them to the birds. Or as in my case, I carried them far off across the field and hot asphalt drive so they should not be able to make their way back to the tomato plants (I couldn't quite bring myself to actually dispatch them outright .....) . You don't want to drop them on the ground nearby because they'll find their way back up to the plant.

If you find one with little white protrusions that look like rice, leave it be. They are the egg sacs of a parasitic wasp that will help control garden pests.

It was interesting that there were so many and only on this batch of tomato plants. Luckily they struck when I was home and I noticed it before too much damage was done. Over the course of the day I found 12 of them on the hanging tomato plant basket ! I think I ought to check them again tonight just in case...........

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I hate those things! I have two patio tomatoes on my deck and I know they have been eating the leaves, but can't find them on the plants... I'm with you on the squishing, can't do that one...yuck!


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