The tomato hornworms have arrived!
The tomato hornworms are voracious feeders and can defoliate a tomato plant. The only recommended method of managing the hornworm population is handpicking. For those brave enough, the hornworms can be picked off the plants and squished or dropped into a bucket of soapy water. For those who like to keep their distance, we have a set of long-handled grass shears which can be used to remove the tomato hornworms without touching them! Tilling the soil in the fall can significantly reduce the tomato hornworm population for the following year, because it kills the larvae and pupae living in the soil. There is a species of parasitic wasp that infects tomato hornworms and keeps the population in control, but we have not seen any evidence of the wasps in our garden yet. Tomato hornworms infected by the parasitic wasps have small white projections all over their backs. If we see any infected hornworms, we won't remove them so that it will encourage growth of the parasitic wasp population.
For now, tomato hornworm removal duty has been added to our list of daily garden activities, but luckily they have a short season and will only stick around for a few more weeks.
|Our "tomato hornworm removal tool"|