Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hornworm Update

The beastly creature I discovered on my tomato plants yesterday is a HORNWORM.  How did I get me one of those?

So yesterday, not knowing if this was a Majestic Butterfly To Be, I picked the disgusting thing off my plant and tossed it aside.

I went online and Lisa confirmed that it was, indeed, a nasty hornworm that would never be a majestic butterfly.

I learned on Google that I could eliminate this thing with BT and after having such great success with BT on my maple (Eastern tent caterpillars have not returned), I went after the hornworm with my bottle of freshly-mixed solution in hand.

Except I couldn't find the nasty critter.

This morning, I find the creature in the middle of what will next year be my Rose Garden and I attacked it with BT believing BT would paralyze it.  Freaking thing kept moving.

Back to the Internet I went and learned that BT needs to be sprayed on the leaves the critter will eat and whilst eating the leaves, BT will enter Critter's digestive system and kill it that way.

Crap!  Does that mean I have to put this thing on my tomato plant?

I'm not doing that.  I am going to hope a bird will scoop down and eat this thing.

I don't have a problem spraying the tomato plants and pepper plants with BT but my concern is that I'm going to eat this stuff and I don't want to eat bacteria.  The label says, and I confirmed it with other sources, that I could spray my plants "right up until I pick the fruit".  What the heck does "right up until" mean?  I can spray a day before, an hour before, a few minutes before?  My clock doesn't have a Right Up Until on its face and my calendar makes no reference of it.

So I think for now, I'll spray the plants with green tomatoes and keep the stuff away from the red ones which should be ready for picking in the next couple of days.

Hornworm, be ready.  I'm coming to getcha!

UPDATE:  I prepared a solution of dishwashing liquid and cold water and poured it over the Critter.  It was dead in less than two minutes.  I sprayed the tomato plants with BT in case Critter's Cousin decides to pay us a visit.  None of the tomatoes are ready for picking so I wasn't too concerned about spraying the entire plant.


  1. Isn't it amazing how these critters find our gardens? They come out of nowhere and suddenly there they are. I had to laugh about your clock not having a "right up until" marking on it!

    I would use it "right up until" the day before harvest, then wash the tomato well. Icky bad critter for sure, but if you plant tomatoes they will come.

  2. Yep their really gross, I hand pick them off and squish them with my shoe.

  3. Sometimes these larva can be destructive. I try to plant other host plants like flowering tobacco that they seem to like. So far no big issues. If they get to be a nuisance then I handpick them and dump them into a bucket of soapy water. This works for most all pests like Japanese beetles, bagworms, grubs, and of course hornworms. Don't let them stress you as they might not show up again. They are the larva of a night flying moth that is kind of cool. I often find the overwintering larva in the garden. It is a round brown thing that has like a hook on the end. Rather intersting.

  4. Laurrie, why can't monarch caterpillars find my garden? Why does it have to be ugly moth things? And why does it have to always be a vegan? A carnivorous worm interested in only aphids and beetles would be most welcome.

    Tina, dishwashing liquid and water in a gallon jug are my best friends in the garden. I call it the Beetle Pond.

    PG, no way am I going to step on that thing. I gag thinking about the guts oozing out and the sound that must make. Ick, Ick, Ick.



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