I really hate bugs

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Stepped out to admire my garden a few minutes ago and just about freaked . A large green caterpillar type bug has almost completely denuded one of my cayenne plants of it's leaves . Ate into several of the peppers too . The interweb has helped me identify this thing as a tomato hornworm , and I'm about to read up on how to deal with this pest . BTW , that one is now a puddle of goo and a bit of green skin now .
--
Snag
Learning keeps
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Yep, the infamous Tomato Horn Worm. If your garden is small it is possible to just look at the plants early in the morning. When I see them I take a pair of scissors and remove them from the plant and smash them with the heal of my boot. Sometimes I just snip them in half, the green goo squirts out :) I find that there are not many of them and I tend to get them before any major damage. They are not far from the chewed limbs. Check every morning. I snip off the chewed limb so it is easier to find the pest the next morning. Look for the chewed limbs and find the bug. In three days I smashed nine of the insects.
In a few more days you will begin to appreciate a bug called the "Wasp". When you start seeing the poor green bug covered by white wasp eggs that will hatch and slowly the wasp larvae will consume the Tomato Horn Worm while it is still alive. Oh the horrors!
Welcome to gardening :)
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Nad R wrote: ...

yes, leave those ones alone so the wasps can do their thing. they may do more damage before the wasps finish them off, but it's a small sacrifice to make to keep the life cycle of the wasp going. i've yet to see any worms with wasps, but when i do i will be glad to let them be.

haha,
last year was not bad for tomato hornworms, the year before we had about 25, this season we have not had any so far, but will start looking. usually we haven't seen them until the first few weeks of August, but with you two writing about them i'll have to go out and take a closer look tomorrow morning to be sure. i looked them over pretty good (for poo sign) yesterday and didn't see any chewed leaves or poo nuggets on the ground (another easy way to find them also if you have bare earth under the plants instead of mulch) but a second look is worth it.
songbird
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Those small Horn Worms can produce rather large Poo Nuggets, but look at how much one bug can eat :)
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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Nad R wrote:

and how quickly they can go from not being seen to suddenly showing up.
we checked the other day and didn't see any. then the next day there were three (one big one and two smaller ones) and today there were none that we could find.
songbird
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So far 14 hornworms and 1 hornworm moth smashed. Very little damage catching them early.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Mon, 1 Aug 2011 07:50:30 +0000 (UTC), Nad R

We caught a hornworm yesterday. The only reason it was spotted at all was due to the wasp eggs. The thing looked like a hedgehog.
Boron
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-snip-

I hope by 'caught' you mean-- saw on a plant, celebrated & left him to raise his predators.
Jim
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wrote:

I've only seen one tomato hornworm in about 10 years--- And it was covered with wasp eggs! He/she managed to eat about 1/2 of a branch of tomato before being consumed [from the inside] by the little wasps. The dried out carcass remained on the end of that branch for weeks. Made me smile every time I walked by.
Jim
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On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 02:16:43 +0000 (UTC), Nad R

Last year I caught this swallowtail caterpillar devouring my dill. Note carefully the tiny critter afflicting my destroyer. You can see it about half way down the "spine".
http://i54.tinypic.com/2whnj1j.jpg
Still, this caterpillar was so beautiful it was difficult to hate it, even though it took out a lot of dill.
Boron
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In wrote:

We found one munching on one of our parsley plants a couple of years ago and moved it to another less important plan in the garden.
But when I looked it up and read that the parsley was the only plant we had that it would eat, we found it and put it back.
There was only one caterpillar and we had a lot of parsley.
--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN snipped-for-privacy@iphouse.com

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snipped-for-privacy@iphouse.com says...

We grow rue (ruta graveolens) for the swallowtails. It's a tough plant, self sows readily, perennial in zone 5 and really does draw the swallowtails. It's also reputed to give the swallowtails a bad taste.
The drawback is having to avoid skin contact with rue you because you can get burns from it.
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-snip-

That's the one critter I share with. both the caterpillar and the butterfly are too beautiful to resent. Parsley, dill, carrots. . .. I might move him to a Queen Anne's lace if it looks like I have more caterpillars than 'browse'.

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On 7/27/2011 9:39 PM, Snag wrote:

I use a vegetable garden insecticide. Tomato horn worms can decimate a plant fast and while they are big and easy to pick off, they are difficult to see since they blend in with the plant so well.
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Frank wrote:

I plucked two more this morning . This time from a couple of tomato plants . I have cantalopes running under the tomatoes , the poo piles on the leaves led me right to the little horned buggers . I'm puzzled , why have I never had a problem with these before ? This is only the second year for 'maters in this location , and I didn't have any last year . And I've never seen a moth that fits the description given in the several articles I've read . -- Snag Learning keeps you young !
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On 7/28/2011 7:50 AM, Snag wrote:

pots on my deck 10 feet above ground. I've got a plant below the deck, at ground level, that was untouched. Can't recall any problems last year and don't know what moth looks like, but they must be around.
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Googling, this one says moth is like a humming bird. I probably have seen them flitting about.
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Frank wrote:

Yup , they're big moths . And that's what puzzles me , because I've never seen one that size . We're bird watchers (well , kinda) and I'm pretty sure that a moth the size of a hummingbird would attract our attention .
--
Snag
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Yep, that's them, I seen one two days ago. They can easily be mistaken for a hummingbird while in flight.
--
Enjoy Life... Nad R (Garden in zone 5a Michigan)

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On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 13:24:34 +0000 (UTC), Nad R

We have both hummingbirds and hummingbird moths that visit our Monarda. My husband named the moths "humbugs." There are several varieties of Hummingbird moth and the one that appears here is not the adult hornworm.
--
USA
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