July 20, 2011

Tomato Hornworms - YUCK

Unfotunately I have discovered one of the most disgusting creatures I have run across in a long time...and it was eating my tomato plants!!  The photo above doesn't look so bad, does it?  Looks like a harmless little caterpillar.

But just look at it when some wasps have laid their eggs inside the caterpillar!  They eat it from the inside out and then hatch, killing the caterpillar.  Talk about cannabalistic! ew

So the first thing I wanted to do was get rid of it.  Who wants that nasty thing hanging on the tomato plant?  So I quickly disposed of the ugly little fella.

After I took the photo, I headed into the house to check in with my #gardenchat buddies over on twitter to see what this creature might be.  Sure enough, they were quick to identify it, but I learned I should have left it on the tomato because the wasps that hatch will then become natural predators for any other caterpillars on the plant.  Ooops.  Do your research first!

Well a day later I found another one, so my mistake was corrected.  As much as it grosses me out, I left him out there so the wasps can have their way with it and guard my garden from any more invasions.

This very ugly creature eventually turns into some kind of hummingbird moth, but there are so many varieties, I couldn't find the exact one to be able to show you.

How about your garden?  Are the pests invading?

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