Re: What's eating my beautiful tomatoes?

On Sun, 13 Jul 2003 19:28:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@ix.netcom.com (dkra) wrote:

Tomato hornworms eat foliage and possibly very small green fruit. I think Pat may be closer in suggesting tomato fruitworm.
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You've got hornworms - they are virtually guaranteed to hit your tomato plants at least once during the growing season. They are very common. You'll see little crumbs that look like dark green coffee grinds on the leaves. They are voracious and will devour your whole plant if given the chance.
I usually go out and check all the branches and leaves first thing in the morning to find them. They blend in along the undersides and ends of branches - look very carefully and pick them off (wear gloves- they're fat and mushy- ick!). They are usually bright green with little white thin lines on their backs and a red horn on one end of their bodies. If you find one with white looking eggs on its back, pick it off and relocate it - don't kill it. Those white eggs are actually feeding on the hornworm and will kill it. The eggs were put there by a parasitic wasp and they will hatch new babies to take care of other hornworms in the future. To make sure you get all the hornworms, you can also dust the plants with Bt Powder or Dipel Dust (same thing). It's an organic biological powder that will target just caterpillars and chewing larvae. You can also spray with a liquid form called Thuricide (also Bt). I prefer to use the powder because it can be seen on the leaves so I know I've applied it everywhere.
While it is organic and safe, it may harm other caterpillars, so I recommend using it just when you see a problem and not on a regular basis. You should see dead hornworms hanging from the branches within a couple of days. My kids and I put hornworms in a mayonnaise jar (punch holes in the lid) with some tomatoes leaves and green tomatoes and watch how much they will eat overnight - it's astounding!
Good luck.
Penny Zone 7b - North Carolina

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wrote:

------ Very good post, Penny! I'm saving this one to my gardening notes file. Thanks!
---pete---
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ewwww, I squashed one by accident one time. It felt, sounded and looked gross. :P lol
Lisa
wrote:<BR><BR>&lt;snip&gt; <BR><BR>&gt; Is there some sort of "typical" worm or similar pest that likes tomatoes?<BR>&gt; If so, how do I deal with him/her?<BR><BR>&lt;snip&gt;<BR><BR>Google "tomato hornworm" and you should find lots of information.<BR><BR>I've heard the best way to deal with the worms is to go out in the evening<BR>with a flashlight and pick them off by hand, and squash them.&nbsp; <BR><BR>They're big, green worms with stripes. <BR><BR>-- dkra<BR><BR>-- <BR>dkraatmmiiidotixdotnetcomdotcom<BR>[Subtract two thousand and (one plus two), plus the "." of course.]</BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
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THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR HELP!!!
Paul
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