So a few weeks ago I was outside clipping back the herbs and I happen to look up and there was this giant worm staring at me. Of course I screamed and B came running. After fussing at me for giving him an almost heart attack he put some gloves on and removed the worm off the tomato plant and put it in a jar for further inspection. I grabbed my trusty garden pest book (the one with pictures) an quickly identified it as the nefarious Tobacco Hornworm. After we disposed of it I went back to look a round and found a few other and surmised that I had an infestations.
For about 2 weeks every morning and evening I would perform a “where’s waldo” on the tomato plants and prompltly remove the critters and dispose of them in another locale hoping the birds would finish them off as breakfast/dinner. I think I had about 18 total. Other than giving me the heebie jeebies and some freaky nightmares where we were being eaten by giant worms the Tomato plants didn’t suffer too much damage.
The tricky part about these worms is that they are really hard to spot. See image below. Can you find the worm?
- Look for small grenade like droppings hanging on the branches or leaves
- Look for missing leaves and stubby branches
- Look around in the morning or evening time- that is when they are most active
Other than pulling them off here are a few ways/resources on how to get rid of them:
- Spray with BT
- Buy the wasps that lay eggs on them (too Aliens for me)
Here are some online resources:
- Tobacco Hornworm Video: http://www.5min.com/Video/Controlling-Tobacco-Hornworm-93896044
But what about preventing these guys from infesting next year? Here are some resources about that as well.
- Rotate your Tomato and Nightshade crops each year
- Add a bird feeder close by
- Spray plants with Garlic or Red Pepper Spray
- Plant Borage