To all haters of hornworms...read this

engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)August 6, 2008

My garden was a magical place last night. As you can probably figure out- I consider myself to be the garden pest exterminator of all exterminators.....and take pride in eradicating the various pests that would do harm to my garden. I had something happen last night that has left me absolutely speechless.....It's one of those experiences where when it's over with, you have to wonder - did this just happen? I went out with a flashlight last night at about 10:30, and checked on the garden, of course....And found the usual boring bugs....squash bugs, stinkbugs, etc. - I also killed a black widow by my cantaloupes. But, as I was getting ready to walk away - I noticed a very LARGE flying thing hovering over my tomato plant section. It was the size of a small bird. Because of it's size, I actually felt very uncomfortable being that near to it. When I shined my flashlight on it, it's eyes glowed very distinctly, and for a moment - I had to ask myself...Is this really happening? It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed, and kinda looked like a fairy. I think that I actually got to experience something that very few people ever get to see. It was hovering in front of my tomato plants, and gingerly taking it's tail in a curved, kinda underhanded motion - and touching the bottom of the leaves with it. After doing this to about 3 leaves, it flew away into the night. I felt like telling it "come back". I felt truly blessed, that of all of the gardens it could have came to at that moment - it chose mine. Anyway, I went out this morning to inspect the leaves in the area it was doing it's thing at, because I suspected it was depositing it's eggs. And there it was.....a small light green, almost transparent egg - that I had seen tons of, in the month of June. The flying thing I saw last night was the adult form of the tomato hornworm, or tobacco hornworm...one of the 2. It was an unbelievable experience......Ok, now I need to go and do something very manly, like skin a hog or something....that'll get this weird, happy feeling out my body...blech!

EG

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeni3004

YAY!!!! So I have NEVER seen a hummingbird around here EVER. I saw one at my window the other day, the kids and I stood in teh loft and watched it out the big window up there.

Then as I'm doing some bug research myself I came across the picture of a grown hornworm, aka hummingbird moth. So now I'm betting thats what was at my window!

Pretty neat things in the gardening world!!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
medontdo(8)

now talla woulda been happy to see that!! LOL she absolutely LOVES fairy's! and will do anything to protect them! so now we'll have to go out at night to see if we can see them :')

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
msyoohoo

There are a lot of cool things out there in nature!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 10:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
medontdo(8)

we found one of them hummingbird moths last night, it was kinda cool!! as long as it stayed its distance!! LOL ya, i believe that there are alot of unexplained things, that is so cool how we can come up with new ways of doing things!! LIke sfg!!! i know it isn't new but to some it is. LOL ohhh crap, its gonna rain tomarrow, means i gotta get all the laundry done an hung up on the line!! LOL OOOOPSSS!!! crap letters!!! ***big grinn*** LOL ~Medo

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeni3004

So now what I didn't see anywhere is once they turn into the moths...are they harmful? I haven't seen that one since that one time, but doesn't mean I'm just not seeing it when its around.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anniesgranny(6b)

I don't think the hummingbird moth comes from the tomato hornworm, although they are both Hawkmoths.

From Wikipedia: Hemaris is a Holarctic genus of moths in the sphingidae family, consisting of about 17 species, four of which fly in North and South America. Their main host plants are herbs and shrubs of the Dipsacaceae (Teasel) and Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) families. Moths in the Hemaris genus are collectively called Clearwing Moths or Hummingbird Moths in the US, and Bee Hawk-Moths in Britain.

The Five-Spotted Hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata) is a brown and gray hawk moth of the Sphingidae family. The caterpillar is often referred to as the tomato hornworm and can be a major pest in gardens.

Here is a photo of the moth that comes from the hornworm and one I took of a hummingbird moth on my daughter's honeysuckle bush this year. Note how clear the wings are (and why they are also called Clearwing moths)on the hummingbird:

So, in a word, no. I don't believe the hummingbird moth is harmful in our gardens...but I'm not 100% sure ;-)

Annie's Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Annie's Granny - Wow! Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful pic and the Wikipedia info.

EG - I absolutely loved your post! You had me all dreamy, then at the end, I was rolling in laughter. Great post, my very manly friend! LOL

~Angela

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
medontdo(8)

ya know, it almost looks as if the insect behind the hummingbird moth has legs, arms, man!! talla say's the light color behind it is the fairy dust trail. LOL i LOVE her imagination!! :') ~Medo

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
laura729

EG - AWWWWW! and...LOL! Regardless of what you saw that night, all creatures mentioned are beautiful. Too bad the hornworm is destructive.

I think I've seen a dead hummingbird moth before, at a gas station in the window cleaning stuff. So sad...it was beautiful.

I've definitely seen actual hummingbirds. I have regular visits since I have a feeder that I keep clean (mostly). Yesterday I was standing on my back porch by the feeder, just watching where the rain is causing trouble, and along comes a little wet hummingbird for her lunch! So I stayed still and watched her get her fill (we have ruby-throats here, and this was the female, which doesn't have a ruby throat...I think). Even though I've had many semi-close encounters with hummers, I still feel like I'm getting a special visit from a fairy. Feel the same way about dragon and damsel flies.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeni3004

So I picked my first bit of broccoli yesterday. Put it in the fridge. Meant to geta round to eating it lastn ight, but didn't until lunch today. I decided I wanted to steam it a bit. Luckily I took the lazy steaming route of a lil water and cover and put in micro. When I went to dump the water off to eat it. *shivers* *gags* There were 5 lil hornworms, or whatever the hell they were, dead, floating. OMG YUCK. I can't even look at my broccoli the same! I WAS just going to give the bowl to the kids to eat fresh. *gags again*

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anniesgranny(6b)

jeni3004 Those were probably cabbage worms. It's very common to find them in the broccoli. Before you cook it, just break off the florets and soak them in some cold salt water for a while, the little stinkers will float out on their own.

That's one thing about fresh veggies...I've found a little green worm in the bottom of the salad bowl before, but if he was still in the bowl, at least he wasn't in my belly! Another time I canned a whole box of pie cherries. After I filled the jars with cherries and poured the boiling syrup over them, all these little white worms came floating to the top. I dumped out the whole thing, what a loss!

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 12:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeni3004

*still shivering* I don't know if I will ever be able to eat my fresh broccoli again, which sucks cuz I just planted a crapload more!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anniesgranny(6b)

jeni3004, there are "little critters" in just about everything we bring in from the garden. Really, a good scrubbing or, in the case of broccoli and cauliflower, a good soaking in lightly salted cold water removes them. Now, you could spray those broccoli plants with all kinds of poison to kill the cabbage worms, but would you want to eat them? I'd rather deal with the worms. I think the only other way you could manage them would be to use a floating row cover to keep those cute little white "buterflies" from laying their eggs on the broccoli plants.

Granny

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jeni3004

LOL I know. And its funny that seeing them crawling outside in the garden doesn't even bug me. I pick them off and shew them away.

I think its more the fact that I almost didnt see them! LOL.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gwankney(South Central PA)

Cover your broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts with floating row cover from the time you plant until you're done your harvest. Choose a light weight variety. You'll never have those icky little worms again, and you'll cut way down on flea beetles and the like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gary's Garden

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
curt_grow

Just had to revive this thread. On my morning garden walk something caught the corner of my eye by the melon and yellow pear tomato.
it swooped down and started to probe my marigolds. It slurped a few and then off it went in the blink of an eye, not to return while I was about.
Curt

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wensmom

I went on a Myth Busting mission tonight! My husband gave me a 22" blacklight for my b-day yesterday (romantic que no?) because I read that tomato hornworms glow. I am a teacher and had to try this out. Well, I am here to tell you IT WORKS! They glow- we sent 6 young ones to the dump....

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
charlieboring

I don't have a lot of space for my tomatoes, but this year I grew about 10 plants. I do not kill all of the tomato horned worms because here in VA we have a wasp that lays its eggs on the backs of the worm and the larvae consume it. I leave a worm or two for the wasps. It has worked every year such that the wasps lay their eggs and the worms do very little damage before their demise.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:41AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cinder block raised bed & drainage
Hi, I am new to this forum and gardening so please...
Alex Rumjancevs
New to gardening and already disappointed in myself :(
I decided to make a raised bed garden and start growing...
cammie895
What to put in the bottom of 12" high boxes??
Hello all, I am doing my first SFG this year. I live...
Deck Pros
staining wood for raised beds.
I'm wanting to build a raised bed and first went out...
johnmcd348
My sister broke my corn tassel!
Long story short, I have a few corn plants growing...
Nila Arivoli
Sponsored Products
New Runner Balouch Hand Knotted Wool Vase Floral Design All-Over Rug Free Pa
BH Sun Inc
Grayson Floor Lamp
Cost Plus World Market
Kona Bronze Four-Light Bath Fixture with Blue Starpoint Glass
$445.50 | Bellacor
Molten Serving Set
$110.00 | Horchow
Furniture of America Warren Padded Fabric Counter Height Chairs - Antique Oak -
$329.86 | Hayneedle
Eyris Duo Pendant by Swarovski
$9,995.00 | Lumens
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™