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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Questions from a Reader: Hornworms

The following question comes from Jody M., fortunately I have never had to deal with hornworms. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer the question. So, I thought I would throw it out there and see if anyone else has an answer for her.

"I love reading your blog and have found a lot of inspiration from it. I do have a question. I have found a huge Tomato Hornworm in my garden. I contacted our local extension office and I am pretty sure from my conversation with the Master Gardener that a hornworm is what I have. Their suggestion was to pluck them off and destroy them. Do you have any other suggestions? Are there any ways that you would suggest keeping them off in the first place? I blogged about it at www.something2learntoday.blogspot.com if you would like to see pictures of what I am talking about. Any suggestions would be much appreciated."


4 comments:

Grandpa Smith said...

Birds and of course chickens love them. Pick them off and throw them out where the birds will see them and enjoy nature at work. If you found one there must be more.

Holly Reed said...

I keep thinking of that movie Sommersby when they are farming Tobacco (relative of tomatoes) and they are hauling buckets full of these critters off their crop. blaugh! From what little I know, hand picking is about all you can do.

Em said...

Pick them off and throw them onto your driveway - the birds around will love them! If you want to spray or dust them, sevin works.

Tea Rose said...

Yup...those are Tobacco Hornworms (as opposed to the Tomato Hornworm which looks the same but has a green horn instead of red). We had a lot of them this year as well - as seen on my blog too! http://chixlife.blogspot.com/ :-) We aren't really into the whole destroying the critter thing, so we brought them in and made a home for them so we could watch them hatch. Otherwise, I would just pick them off and transport them far from your tomatoes.

But, if you must rid yourself of these giant guys there are two techniques that I know of that work well. An organic all natural insecticide called Diatomaceous Earth works well and is very easy to use. (Note: Use the food grade only as non-food grade contains Silica which can be a carcinogen if the powder fumes are inhaled) Lastly, if you keep a ladybug house near your tomato plants they will eat any eggs before they hatch and shouldn't harm your plants. I hope this helps.