Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tomato hornworm

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Expletive deleted.

Technically this is a Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) instead of a Tomato Hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata). But people tend to call them all Tomato Hornworms. The distinction is in the number of stripes and the color of the "horn". Damage to tomato and pepper plants is the same. My poor litle Sungolds.

25 comments:

Jer said...

They eat a lot but you gotta admit that they are kinda cool looking...from a scientific viewpoint and all.

Ron Sullivan said...

I hear that hornworms are edible. Shall I look for some recipes for you?

happyandblue2 said...

Stupid worms. Sheesh..

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Just the other day I heard someone read a poem by Stanley Kunitz called Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation. Here's a link if you're interested:
http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Stanley-Jasspon-Kunitz/18269
We would definitely end that hornworm's life without a second thought--but the poem gives this lowly destructive critter a moment's grace.

Rainypete said...

They wouldn't stand a chance in my garden, the squirrels wait silently for me to plant and then clain the land as their own. Rotten little beasts.

Niobium said...

my tomato plants are still only one inch high. I don't think they'll get much bigger or fruit. I am infinately sad.

megabethcom said...

I suppose pest control stuff like sevindust would defeat the purpose of organic gardening? I'm usually blindsided by pests, once I find them the damage is already done.

Marsha said...

We had a couple of these last year. Luckily they seemed to confine themselves to the two I very satisfyingly squished well away from the garden. My tomato luck appears to have run out, though, since we have heavy losses to do splitting (irregular rain and not near enough water for the heat) or blossom end rot. It's been a craptastic garden year.

Hick said...

Those things give me the creeps. Another reason not to grow tomatoes...right after 1.)have no spot on my entire 2 acres that has more than 3 hours of sun and 2.)the deer would eat anything I planted, anyway.

fred said...

Here's the sweetest revenge against the Green Menace:
http://tinyurl.com/c2p8d

Cheer if you see these little white cigars sticking out from the pulpy bodies of those who would your garden. They, too, can become food!

cookie jill said...

but the little wormie's got a smiley face....

Grace said...

I agree that they are cool looking, but that horn is kind of scary. It's amazing how fast they can completely defoliate a plant and the wasy they can be so hard to spot because they blend in so well (at least until they've eaten all the leaves). Have you tried BT to control them?

Magazine Man said...

Oh, not cool. We had some kind of worms on our tomatoes last year and the only ones who were excited about it was my son (who picked em off and filled a can with the squirming things) and the dog (who confirmed that they are indeed edible. And he can have all of them).

Floridacracker said...

Pick them off your plants and feed them to your chickens. Mine love 'em. Of course, by the time I usually notice the hornworms, the tomato plants have been stripped.

Lin B said...

All of you are making me appreciate the bountiful and perfect tomatoes we are getting so far in Danville, VA! My three plants (one grape, two patio) are the first I've tried to grow in many years because we never had enough sun till Hurricane Bonnie spun off a little tornado here last summer and took out some trees. For two weeks we've been getting loads of unblemished tomatoes. No watering, no chemicals - just stuck them in the ground and did some staking. It will probably never happen again. Nature taketh away; nature giveth?

Rurality said...

We've seen another bug on the tomatoes too. I want to laugh and tell them they're too late!

Jer I think the moths they turn into are pretty cool, but that's as far as I'll go. :)

Ron, um, you first ok? (I shouldn't say that. You'll probably do it!)

H&B talk about your unwanted visitors...!

Wow RD I love that poem. I kind of wish I hadn't heard it though, if you know what I mean. Now I will have second thoughts.

Pete there are not many squirrels here. I think the predators eat them all.

Nio - sounds like the letture and broccoli we had this year. Same problem.

SM yeah I was trying to avoid all that, but we just haven't been able to be in the garden enough to use "hand picking" methods for most bugs.

Marsha - craptastic - love the term LOL. Last year was our splitting summer.

Hick the deer have managed to confine themselves to my crabapple trees.

Fred I think I need several dozen of those.

Jill, no! He's pure evil!

Grace, no I didn't know about the BT until it was kinda late. Well there's always the farmer's market. :)

MM I wish your son lived closer, I'd have plenty of jobs for him!

FC what a great idea. Next time I find them I'm calling the chickens!

Oh Lin I hope you were knocking on wood after you said that, LOL. I used to have good luck with tomatoes when I first started growing them. But not lately.

Rhodent said...

I am very sure that that is the variety of caterpillar that I used to get stung by as a kid... they hurt!

Anonymous said...

I developed this theory re: gardening. If it's a good year, lots of people are grateful if you "help" them with their bounty. If it's a bad year, who needs the aggravation for naught? So far, so good. This spring I planted tomatoes, they froze. These 100 degree days I'm grateful to not have them. Yeah, I know. Wicked. But lots of nice tomatoes from my neighbors.

Dope on the Slope said...

Wow. Great pic!

That's a FAT one.

I just bought a Nicotiana plant for the back "garden" of my Brooklyn apartment. Whaddya think was hanging on the stem, blissfully chewing off one of the blooms? It was a tobacco hornworm, of course. I'll probably post some pics next week.

Rurality said...

Rho this one doesn't sting, but it sure looks like it could. (Maybe one of these instead?

Anon you may be onto something. :) Sometimes people will practically pay you to take squash.

Lobbygow, oh no. I never thought of that before, but it makes sense.

Ali said...

Are you sure they don't sting? I have tons of them on my plants, but I'm scared to touch them!!! Their natural defenses are working!!!

Rurality said...

They're not supposed to. But yeah I know what you mean, I don't particularly want to touch them either! :)

Use gloves!

Kristen from GI NY said...

Ugh! Found these bas**rds a few days ago, now every night at dusk I am sitting there staring at my tomato plants as though I am having a conversation with them. I actually listen for the 'green devils' chewing, to find them...they don't like the heat of my campfire...ha ha ha, I love my garden and prey on the predators!!!

Rurality said...

Kristen I wish my hearing were that good! :)

Anonymous said...

hey, does anyone know if these stay worms or do they turn into something?