Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Posted by emcd124 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 30, 12 at 13:31

I noticed some holes on one of my tomato leaves, so I turned it over and there was a very small tomato horn worm, about the thickness of a coffee stirring staw and about an inch and a half long.

UM extension recommends hand picking as the best defense, so I killed that one and searched all over the plant as best as I could. I couldnt find any other holey leaves, nor any other horn worms. But i've been on pins and needles about a potential horn worm assault. I was always under the impression that where there was one, there was a whole brood.

Is it possible there was just this one horn worm?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Possible but not likely. When the moth lays her eggs they are in multiple locations on the plant. That doesn't mean they all survive to hatch but the odds heavily favor more than one.

There is no need to obsess over it though. A daily check of the plants is usually sufficient. You may miss one or two and get some damage before finding them but the average tomato plant will tolerate it and recover. And with practice they get much easier to spot.

Dave


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

It also helps if you cut off the damaged leaves, so that if there are others you can be sure it's from them, not the one you got.

Last year I had scores of them, well over 60 with a dozen plants, this year I've only found three. Guess they have good and bad years also.

Here is a link that might be useful: DFW Gardener


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

I've found 2 I plucked off, 3 more that had been parasitized (word?) so left them. Seems to only be on a couple of plants.


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

I watched the big moth lay the eggs. She flits around fast touching her rear here and there. My impression was that she was giving her offspring whole plants or at least plenty of space between eggs. There are wasps and flies that feed on them. I expected to find hornworms but I have only found one. My garden is dry and I have lots of red wasps coming to a stock tank in the garden. I have seen the tachinid flies attack big hornworms before and that is interesting to watch. I never see the wasps that make the little white cocoons.


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Okay all, I will aim for diligent vigilance but no stressing.

@helenh: I know that lots of wasps are beneficials. But what is a "stock tank" for a garden? Is it something to attract beneficial wasps? what is it? where did you get it?


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Tomato hornworms have found there way to my garden beginning yesterday. I found two that had done serious damage but were parasitized. I stomped them, not knowing until tonight that they carried tiny wasps to do in more hornworms. How do you balance the munching-crunching damage with the knowledge that they're carrying death for their fellow hornworms?

Thanks!


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

I've never seen a parasitized horn worm (still only the one fellow in my garden, still watching). But could you put the guy in a glass mason jar in the shade with a cutting from the tomato plant (like you would to raise a butterfly for a kid) so he's sequestered away from damaging your plants more but will host the wasps to maturity so they can help do in more critters?


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Use a blacklight to find them. They glow under these lights!


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

Do they keep eating once they've got the wasp eggs on their backs? I didn't want to pluck them off either, but don't know if they're causing more damage. Seem to be hanging in there a long time (though 1 I saw yesterday really was just barely hanging on)?


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

@Capoman: A black light?! that is AWESOME. Does it work for any other critters? I'm having a heck of a time finding the bean leaf beetles on my bean plants. it would be dreamy if they were also day-glo

Thanks!


 o
RE: Tomato horn worm...can there be just one?

I tried the black light last night - extension cord, CFL black light in a shop light housing - and the hornworms did show up clearly against the tomato foliage. But they weren't like Elvis on black velvet type of glow-in-the-dark. At least one moth glowed too.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here