Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Can Anyone Tell Me How This Happens?

How do tomato horn worms - ugly cusses they are - get onto potted tomato plants which sit on a raised deck at least 40 feet from other vegetation (except a forsythia) in any direction?

This morning I took the third one off the plant; telltale signs lead me to it, such as top stems with no foliage. It infuriates me! How dare they infiltrate MY plants - the first I have grown in many years?! The plants I lovingly water, fertilize and remove the suckers often.


I googled the worms and found a photo, but I could not copy and paste it into the blog. It's just as well, it might make you toss your cookies if you see it. As I said, they are UGLY! They are almost the color of this print, which makes me want to rethink the color green as my favorite.

Do any of you know a natural repellant I could use? Or should I be resigned to searching for them everyday, scissors in hand?

16 comments:

weedom said...

hello. I came via Micheles.

Are they larvae, these worms? Could they be getting put there by a butterfly/moth/fly?

Angie said...

It is the larvae of a hawk moth. The best remedy for it is to keep picking them off by hand. There is a poison you can use but I don't like to use those on things we will eat.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yeah, like Angie said. If you get enough of 'em, dust 'em with corn meal and fry in bacon fat. Then bury them.

Anonymous said...

You could grow them on your roof and those little buggers would get to them. I used to be bothered by them but not since I started spraying them with SEVEN early on in the tomato vine growth cycle. Seven will not hurt humans so long as it is not sprayed on the fruit a couple of weeks before harvesting. I haven't seen any this year and I've had a bumper crop of nice tomatoes to eat. You always wash the fruit before eating it anyway...don't you? Wash it good and enjoy.

Pearl said...

Wow, that's so odd that they are there too. My aunt has tomato horn worms this year too in her tomatoes and potatoes and she's in Ontario, Canada. She hasn't seen the population this big for 30 years. hawk moth, huh. They're huge. And leave black droppings. She only found 6 of them but they sure are hungry. My aunt is hand-picking them off. You can see the mark when they're inside the tomato apparently and find them.

Lisa said...

Hi ..followed you from my own blog. I saw your at the other blog and thought you looked familiar. I already read your blog! Can't remember for the life of me where I saw you first. Small blogging world, eh? :)

Pat said...

Can't help, but think there is nothing to compare to the smell of home grown tomatoes so I hope you get rid of the little bastards!
Pat

vicki said...

McCloud eats them. Part of the reason he weighs 22# (EEWWWW!) One day he came in with one stuck in his fur.I would loan him out but he's needed here right now.

Scarlett said...

They are a big pest and come from some mothy looking thing at night that at first I thought was a hummingbird. Picking them off is the most organic thing you can do. If you ignore them they will consume everything down to the stalk. Organically, the next best thing is a contact poison called BT
see this link - http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/B/B.thuringiensis.html". It is more organic than Seven dust. It is not harmful for human consumption, and it goes right to the weak spot of any wormy thing.

Next year, plant dill around tomatoes as horn worms will not like the smell and move elsewhere.

FTS said...

I have the brownest thumb you can imagine. The best advice for growing plants I can give you is to keep them as far away from me as possible.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Sevin Dust. Dust the plant with it and just leave it on there. I don't think it poisons the tomatoes. If it does, its the best poison I ever ate.

srp said...

Do you suppose you could introduce them to Kudzu...now there's a thought. Maybe they could take care of that problem in the south. But, I guess Kudzu would have to have some kind of red fruit.

Sorry I'm no help. I know how to grow African Violets or at least I did in med school but I'm not much good outside as evidenced by my dead rose.

By the way, I really didn't mind that the rose bush died. It's really my dad's bush for one. And last summer Max, our clumsy cocker rescue dog, chased a toy into the flower bed and ran right into the bush. We didn't know it but a thorn had pricked his eye. He developed an ulcer and it took vet visits, sedation and lots of eye ointment to make it better. The rose never was pretty enough to keep after all that problem.

Jamie Dawn said...

OH, those horny worms!!

kenju said...

Thanks to everyone for the advice. As long as I have no more than 3-4 to remove, I will continue to do it by hand. I don't want to use Sevin because it kills bees and butterflies, I was told. After I saw photos of the hawk moths, I remember seeing a few of them around here recently. I think I may even have a photo of one still in the camera. They are really ugly, aren't they? Sort of evil looking to me.

dena said...

I've always done it by hand too. They're strange looking guys, aren't they?

visiting from michele's

Anonymous said...

I pick off the ugly green buggers with a pair of needle nose plyers and drop them in a pail of SEVEN.

How do they get there in the first place.