Tomato HornWorm's (S. Central MI) Needing Relocation Advice

Amy.MarieJuly 20, 2012

I am a brand new gardner. I saw my first two HornWorms today on a small (not yet producing) "container" tomato plant. I do not kill anything, all rodents and pests are removed unharmed and relocated (besides killing of flies and fleas, which I am not proud of). I feel that our Karmic future & Inner Happiness is directly affected by our actions as the "Dominant Species" or Natures "Care Takers" as all species other than the human species do not have any of their OWN life choices.

I will relocate these two guys into an area on my land where they have vegetation, though I am unsure what NATIVE plants they will thrive on. Any advice would be helpful. I don't want to do them harm by placing them into a group of bushes that may be toxic? For the time being I can hold them in a 10 gallon aquarium with their own tomoto plant, a few inches of clean soil and some soda bottle lids of water.



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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Your tomato/tobacco hornworm will eat the leaves of tomato, preferrably, though they can be found on other members of the Solanaceae family such as pepper and potato, though grudgingly. There are a few native weeds in this plant family, but you would have to look them up since I don't know where you live. Most of those plants are considered toxic....Solanaceae is the Nightshade family. That's pretty much it. They are not generalists but very host specific.

The lids of water are useless. Spray the leaves occasionally with water. Captive caterpillars often succumb to disease if in the hands of someone who has not learned the rudiments of caring for them. That would be most of us!

To go along with your philosophy, releasing them into the 'wild' without an appropriate food source would be cruel. They would suffer a slow death of starvation. I suggest that you either sacrifice your own tomato plant, or get some more tomato plants, or serve them up to the birds in your garden by placing them in the bird bath or feeder. That would be a good thing to do, right?

In nature, there are many pests and parasites that help control these particular caterpillars. Very few of the many that are hatched actually make it to adulthood.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:58PM
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Moving these Tomato Hornworms to a place birds will eat them would be one method of keeping them from devouring your tomaot plants. You might also have Braconid Wasps around that might parasitize them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Hornworms

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:23AM
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