Daytime Hangout for Hornworms?

anney(Georgia 8)June 20, 2006

I check my plants for insect damage twice a day -- once in the morning and at dusk, about 8:30. I never see any insects on them in the morning but find a few stinkbugs and hornworms just before the sets.

Where do hornworms GO during the day? Stinkbugs must fly to shady havens but of course HWs don't fly. So where are they during the daylight hours? I check the underside of the leaves particularly and on the lower stems in the mornings but don't see nary a sign of them.

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anney(Georgia 8)

Late yesterday afternoon I made my usual foray to pluck hornworms from the tomato plants and was startled to be dive-bombed by what I first thought was a small aggressive fly when I reached for one I spotted. When I backed up, it made a beeline for the hornworm on my tomato stem that I was reaching for. It was a braconid wasp! The hornworm would rear up and whip the upper part of its body toward the critter, briefly driving it away. So the wasp would come in at a different angle. It finally was able to land on the hornworm, which continued to whip and twist its upper body around as it was stung.

Nature in action... Though I still haven't discovered any hornworms hiding under leaves during the day.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 11:50AM
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JoyfulJan(z7GA)

That is so cool, Anney. I'm in N. GA. and was surprised to find my first hornworms today. I thought they came later in the season?

I have seen hornworms with the wasp eggs on their backs, but by the time that they hatch out 1/2 of my plant would be gone!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 11:20AM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

I let the paper wasps have the hornworms -- usually, by the time I see the damage, the worm has already become breakfast.

Hornworms may drop down to the ground or otherwise head toward the lower parts of the plant during the day. I've seen them at all times of day back when I had to hunt them, though they're much easier to see when they're feeding at dusk (they shake the plant). So I don't know where yours go.

--Alison
who is always happy to see a paper wasp doing its twice-daily patrols out there; they're really pretty mild-mannered, and no one's better at finding hornworms and fruitworms.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 6:15PM
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dgroworelse

Hornworms are there. They do not "migrate" . They only eat. My best advice is to look for their turds. They are eating machines and that is all they do, they do not rest or relax. Hornworms just have good camoflauge.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:54AM
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