Your welcome. I was happy to feed a few caterpillars soon to be
butterflies with my carrots. There just doesn't seem to be that many
around nowadays. Thought it was one of the little rabbits that were
getting through my fence at first...
Interestingly enough I didn't see/find a single Tomato worm this year.
That has never happened before in all the years we've had a garden and
tomatoes. Not even a hint of activity either. Sometimes I don't find
them even though I'm know they've been munching on my plants...
It has been a strange year weather wise for sure. Of course that
maybe just a coincidence. I never find/kill all of the tomato worms so
it isn't like I've eradicated them. And I have neighbors who don't know
enough to find and pick them off...
supposedly there are some bugs which use them
as hosts and so i try to check them for that before
cutting them in half. haven't seen any signs of
the bugs yet in the years we've had tomatoes.
they can be hard to find, but it does help to
get out early enough in the morning to check for
them when they are still up on the ends of things
and eating. looking for fresh droppings below
the plants can also help narrow down the search.
Yes, parasitic wasps (Braconid wasp). If I recall correctly the wasp
lays eggs inside the worm. Larva lives inside the worm for a time
and then bores out creating an egg like pupa. This in turn hatches into
another parasitic wasp. See:
You can't really tell until the final stage. I've seen this but only a
few times over the past ~50 years. And like you I leave those worms
alone. Otherwise it's like the Red Queen screams, "Off with the head!"
or something like that :)
I agree, good advice/technique. They feed on pepper plants too, which
are closely related to tomatoes. I've found some real whoppers because
I don't tend to check those often enough... Not this year though. Not
even a hint of activity on either.
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