Tomato Horned Caterpillars

freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)September 19, 2008

Being a purist at heart, I decided to "pick off" those pesky green caterpillars that have the big, scary FAKE stinger-looking horn.

Having picked off about 80 yesterday, the purist in me has just decided to poison the little critters.

Anyone know of a home-made pesticide that will kill these guys and not me? I've already tried hydrogen peroxide and Coke (phosphoric acid) to no avail.

God Bless


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greystoke(South Africa(11))

Good grief!!!
I used to pick these things by hand until they're gone, but 80 ???, that's a bit much. Have you tried tobacco dust?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 1:47PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

To answer your question; No, I haven't.

80??? -- Yup. I put them in a can and did a mass squish, then into the compost heap!

Tobacco dust . . . Hmmmm Seems to me tobacco dust might bring in TMV (tobacco mosaic virus). Don't want that! Are you sure about this?

I was hoping there was some kind of electronic gadget I could set up that would explode them like the Western Music did the Martians' heads in Mars Attacks!


    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 2:24AM
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If you find that electronic gadget, I want one. No wait, I want two. Just in case one breaks.

I hate, Hate, HATE, those damn caterpillars. Did I mention I hate them?

I pulled one off my plants this year that was shockingly huge, like the size of one of those metal marker pens that make you light headed when someone across the room uses them.

And I agree, tobacco would be very, very bad for tomatoes.

About the only thing I know of would be BT, a virus(or bacteria, I forget which) that kills them. How safe that is for things you want to eat, I don't know. Look into it and decide for yourself.

I know that I will be very seriously considering it next year. I hate those things... HATE THEM!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 5:43PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

Okay . . . here's the deal: I got some BT, which stands for bacillis thuremgienesis (Kurostaki strain) -- Go Figure!

The bottle says all it does is make the cattrpillars lose their appetite -- to the tune of never eating again. Basically, they starve to death. It goes on to say that it won't harm anything else; plant or animal and that it can be used on fruit the day it is picked and eaten.

I'm still gonna wash things off with water to be on the safe side.

I sprayed all my tomatoes both top and bottom (of leaves) today. I'll be listening for little growling tummies!

If this seems cruel to anybody, the alternative is to pick them off and smash them under my boot! Hey! You should have seen the mess I made squishing 80 at once in a coffee can!


    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 12:51AM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

Well, I gotta tell you -- BT works. I left several of the little boogers on my tomato plants, marking their position, then sprayed them with BT.

Next morning all the markers were there, but the caterpillars were either lying on the floor directly below or still clinging to the stem, but DEAD!

By the way, I purchased it at my local hydroponics store for $12. I later found the same stuff at Home Depot for $6. At this point, I'll happily donate the difference to my hydro store, because my caterpillar problem is GONE!

God bless.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Awesome, exactly what I was hoping to hear.

I predict that I won't have any caterpillar problems next year.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 6:50PM
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