Hornworms from Hell

kellynola(9)August 28, 2009

This is my first year gardening so every new pest is new to me. One day as I was examining one of my few tomato plants, I saw some eggs on the underside of the leaves. I plucked off all the ones that I could see and continued to monitor the plant.

I skipped gardening ONE DAY and in that time all of the leaves off my biggest plant were eaten and a smaller plant was completely devastated. The culprit was hornworms, of course.

I found four of these critters and gave them to my daughter to put in her bug house with explicit instructions not to let them loose. They spent the night outside in their new home.

The next morning I went out with the secret intent to squash all four bugs before they could do anymore damage only to find that THEY HAD EATEN THEIR WAY OUT of the bug box. Is there no stopping these guys?

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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Kelly - BT is the answer. It is specifically designed to kill leaf-chewing caterpillars. With a good application on the plants, hell on earth will be created for them. I love it! Hehe

EG

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:56PM
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defrost49

It will be hard to do but if any of the hornworms have what looks like white rice sticking on them, let them live. The white rice is the eggs of a parasitic wasp that will kill the hornworm. I did not see any hornworms last year but did move the tomatoes to a new location. I hope the wasps prevented the hornworms from laying eggs. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 8:42AM
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ribbit32004

Those things are huge and tenacious, aren't they? I had about 4-5 of them this year, but haven't seen any since. I was totally shocked at how large they were.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 8:54AM
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kellynola(9)

I bought some BT today. I have not seen any hornworms with the wasp sacks on them however I did notice some wasps in and around the tomato plants today so that's a good sign. I've been trying to be as organic as possible but BT looks like a pretty safe option.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 6:34PM
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flatlander(z6KS)

Try interplanting basil and marigolds with your tomatoes. Since i've been doing that I haven't had a single hornworm.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 3:29PM
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hellbender(6)

The white rice is the eggs of a parasitic wasp . . . .

Wrong. The braconid wasp uses an ovipositor to place eggs inside the hornworm. The "white rice" are pupa cases which appear after the immature wasps emerge from the worm.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 3:51PM
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kellynola(9)

flatlander - my basil and marigolds couldn't be any closer to that tomato plant. Perhaps they warded off some pests but not hornworms!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 5:33PM
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