Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beware The Evil Hornworm

This is a picture of Manduca Sexta, the evil hornworm.  This is a tobacco hornworm to be exact.  I’ve always called them tomato hornworms, but I’ve come to find out there are actually two varieties. This one has seven diagonal stripes and a red horn, so it’s a tobacco hornworm.  Tomato hornworms have eight v-shaped markings and a black horn.  They’re cousins.
While I found this unpleasant creature on my heirloom tomato plant (I’m really not growing tobacco, I promise) it turns out that the tobacco hornworm likes tomatoes as well.  They can do a lot of damage, very quickly.  Like this...

That tomato was just starting to turn red, my first ripe tomato....it’s life cut short. And then there was this.....

Hornworms will, occasionally, attack eggplants, peppers, and potatoes as well.  You can discouraged them by planting marigold flowers around your garden,  but the best thing to do is to regularly check your tomatoes.  The hornworms are hard to find because they blend so well with the greenery, but you’ll know they’re there by the missing leaves and half eaten tomatoes.  Pick them off of your plants and dispose of them or feed them to chickens...chickens think they’re candy. If you have a blacklight, you can find them at night since they glow under the ultraviolet light.  
Eventually, if they live long enough, the hornworm will go into your soil and come out looking like this....Mothra.  You don’t want Mothra in your yard either, so check those tomato 

No comments:

Post a Comment