Update , after following one of the links posted here , I have found out the
ones in my garden are actually tobacco hornworms . The giveaway is the
diagonal stripes rather than V shaped on their sides .
I'll be checkin' on thses morning and evening for a while ... since that
same article said they prefer to feed at dawn/dusk .
they can fly some distance to lay eggs, so
it really doesn't matter if you had them
before or not. we are a fair distance from
any neighbors who garden so there is no
reason to expect them here, but they do
last year we had a few, the year before
we had over twenty, this year we've seen
none so far (checked again this morning).
if you turn the soil under an established
tomato patch and have missed some of the worms
you will see large brown/red/purplish pupa in
the soil. very impressive critters.
crop rotation will help some, but is not
likely to ever keep them away completely.
hand picking them off is an easy non-
chemical means of control, and if you don't
like cutting them in half or squishing them
they will probably drown in slightly soapy
water. then you can compost them or bury
them or throw them away.
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