Those damned things grow fast!
I just noted severe hornworm damage to my vines this morning!
Not only were the little bastards eating the vines, they've been eating
the tomatoes! Both green and nearly ripe. Lot's of destruction. <sigh>
Went out with a flashlight about midnight to hunt them and removed 10
very large 4" + hornworms from my vines, happily doing even more damage.
The tops of the vines are pretty well stripped and they destroyed at
least a couple dozen or more fruits.
My chickens and ducks are gonna get a treat in the morning. ;-)
I just hope I found them all!
I'd heard that even 10% sevin dust would have no effect on the larger
worms. They are just too damned big for it to do any good?
Also, Texas has been getting tons of rain. :( Sevin is useless when that
is going on.
But thanks anyway! :-)
The rain has stopped, but the sevin still seems like a really bad idea
to me as it kills indiscriminately beneficials, pollinators, and
probably a few pests as well. Since my neighbors also keep bees, it
is out of the question on those grounds as well.
I also have a large number of spiders that spin beautiful webs every
night in my tomato vines, including one very large, very pregnant Yellow
Garden Spider. :-) Those are my favorite spiders!
Huge and colorful, they spin VERY large webs. One of my few welcome
predators that is actually as diurnal as the Carolina Anoles. The vast
majority of my orb weavers are nocturnal.
Looks like I got all the worms by just hand picking with a flashlight
that night. Only took me about 1/2 hour. I've not seen any "fresh"
damage at this point.
As tempting as sevin is, I really don't want to kill my spiders. :-(
If that big yellow gal hangs out there long enough, odds are she might
catch a few of those moths. <lol> She is nearly big enough I think to
Thanks everyone for the input!
We used to catch grasshoppers and carefully place them in the web of a
garden spider (called a 'banana spider' by the local kids). It was
interesting to watch the spider crawl to the hapless grasshopper and
wrap it in silk.
I never tried picking them off at night. We used to look for the
damage, then hunt down the bug. Also, they start clicking if you shake
the vine a bit.
Alas, I have seen very few of the critters in the past several years.
We'll see how many there are near our new place. The chickens and
guineas are ready.
Probably the same spider. :-)
I've also been known to "feed" my local ones.
There are currently 3 in residence in my yard! 1 in front around the
BBQ, one in back in the tomatoes, and a cute little male one inside of
my greenhouse. :-)
Cool. :-) I'll check on this product at our local nurseries and home
centers. I'd feel a lot better about using it than sevin! I do value my
insect predators. Just wish they would do better on moth larvae!
That's the idea. <G> Let's see, that was the end of June so if I start
treating at the beginning of June, I might be able to prevent the
damage. Fortunately, the vines are large and healthy.
I've noticed some people seem to have more trouble spotting them than others. My
wife can't spot a hornworm even if it's munching on the tomato right in front of
her. I usually go out every morning and try to check the vines for fresh damage.
When I find some damage it usually doesn't take me too long to find the culprit.
If you catch them when they're small they don't usually do too much damage, but
one of those big ones can do a LOT of damage in one night.
My ducks love hornworms, but the chickens and guineas don't care for them once
they get bigger than about an inch.
don' firstname.lastname@example.org (The Watcher) wrote:
I can't seem to spot them at all during the day. ;-(
They disguise themselves as curled leaves in the daylight! I have to
hunt them with a flashlight after dark when they get active and are
eating further up the vines. Even then they are hard to see, but I did
pick 10 of them last night and did not see anymore tonight. The damage
seems to have been halted. I need to tie up more vines tomorrow and pick
ripe fruit, so will search the lower limbs again.
I know! I often do not spot the damage until the worms are a pretty good
size. That is when the damage is obvious. <sigh>
The chickens did eat them this morning. They beat them up until they are
soft then swallow them like spagetti! The ducks and the turkey just ate
them whole as is.
It's quite amusing. <G>
I used to like feeding the big ones to the mother hens. The hen would
take it in her beak, shake it a bit, and feed it to a chick. The chick
would try to eat it, but fail. The hen would pick it up, shake it some
more, and feed it to another chick. Same result. Eventually, the worm
would be reduced to a very tough bag full of mush. The hen would
eventually end up eating it herself.
As far as finding them... you might try a trick that Euell Gibbons uses
to find plants. Once you find one, stare at it from several angles for
a couple minutes. It's a trick to get your mind to recognize the visual
pattern. After that, it'll be easy to spot them. I used that trick
this spring to find Morels :-)
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