Guest Post by Jean Greenfield at My Recession Kitchen
Seriously, was Mother Nature
having a bad day when she invented the hornworm? I’m at a loss, what was she thinking? What’s the purpose of such an ugly, destructive
creature? No one seems to know.
Sure, wasps like to lay their
eggs on the backs of hornworms, to use them as a host. I could do without wasps as well.
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.
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 much as his cousin. They can
do a lot of damage, very quickly. Like
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 plants. 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. Evil
that glows in the dark!
Eventually, if they live long enough,
the hornworm will go into your soil and come out looking like this….Mothra. I
don’t want Mothra in my yard either, so I check my tomato plants regularly.
Seriously, what was she thinking??