Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Hornworms Have Arrived


I've been scouting my tomatoes and peppers knowing that hornworms would arrive any time now. I found some this weekend on my San Marzano tomatoes.


They were at the bottom of the plant where the adult moths tend to lay her eggs. A few chewed holes in the leaves tipped me off. I found the hornworms when I flipped over the leaves. They are very small, only about 1/2 inches or 13 mm long.


I know not to let their small size fool me. Hornworms grow quickly as they consume the the foliage and green tomatoes. It's time to begin daily inspection with gloves and a container of soapy water as my method of destruction.

13 comments:

  1. My hens would love to be there for the removal process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm...I wonder if I can "borrow" my neighbors chickens to help out.

      Delete
  2. Fully grown, those things give me the willies. I have to use kitchen tongs to remove them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They freak me out as well. Especially when I am looking and looking for them and then discover that they are right in front of me all along! I use gloves to pick them off and drop them into a container of soapy water.

      Delete
  3. Oh oh! Guess I'd better get out there checking. Only with me, it's a question of what'll get the tomatoes first, the disease that's quickly doing in my plants or hornworms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Roma tomatoes are looking really, really bad right now because of disease. I don't think I am going to get many tomatoes from them this year. These three hornworms were found with very little effort on my more healthy tomato plants. Makes me wonder how many I didn't find. Grr.

      Delete
  4. Oh, the most unwelcome guest of them all. Don't they know tomatoes are SACRED to a gardener--the most coveted of all the crops?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely unwelcomed. I am trying to find them while they are small and do little damage.

      Delete
  5. Oh goodness! I have never seen them this small. I always end up finding an adult one...when I am looking a little too close to the plant to find it :-) I think I might go out and check my plants this morning to see if I can find any of the little guys...much preferred to the insanely large guys they turn into!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't go very far at this small stage so look for the leaves with chew holes then flip the leaf over and you may find one. The eggs are translucent green and measure about 1 millimeter in diameter. They almost look like a pearl. These can be found on the underside of leaves and sometimes even on top. Good luck!

      Delete
  6. I never see them this small either. I normally don't see any evidence of them until they've eaten half a tomato plant - usually overnight - and then I'll find at least half a dozen all at once. I haven't seen any yet but I'm definitely on the look out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I scouted the tomato plants again this morning and found about five more small hornworms. Luckily at this stage they do minimal damage, but it doesn't take long for them to grow.

      Delete
  7. We are fortunate that hornworms are usually not a problem here. At my old place, they were a BIG problem, and they can sure strip a tomato vine in no time!

    ReplyDelete