My Largest Garden Problem

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tomato hornworm

Meet one of the largest caterpillars you’ll ever see, the notorious tomato hornworm. If left unchecked, a hornworm this size can decimate a tomato plant in a matter of days–not just eating the foliage, but the green tomatoes, too! When fully grown, the caterpillar goes into the pupa stage, where it transforms itself into, drum roll please…

Hawk Moth
A Hawk Moth







Now, how do you protect your precious tomato plants? Well, when you plant your garden, you can intercrop the tomatoes with an herb called borage, which repels the moths attempting to lay their eggs on the tomato plants. But it’s too late for that now. You can put sevin dust on the plants, which will drive away the hornworms while lacing the tomatoes with an insecticide–not a good option. By far the best solution is execution. During the day, carefully inspect all the plants for damage to the leaves and for hornworm scat, which are little black turds the size of BBs. Then very carefully, inspect each affected plant and try to find the camouflaged worms. Then knock them off, or pick them off, and cut them in half with pruning shears. Leave them on the ground for the birds, especially robins. At night, use an ultraviolet flashlight shined on the plants and if there are worms, they will fluoresce. Then knock them off the plant and execute them with an assault rife.