Controlling Tomato Hornworm

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Among the hardest to grow vegetables is the tomato. There are so many things that can go wrong with a tomato plant. Not the least of which is a rather large caterpillar affectionately called the tomato hornworm. Not only is the tomato hornworm a major pest of the tomato plant, but it is also a rather large insect.

As a child I enjoyed pulling these caterpillars off the tomato plants and throwing them out in the street where the birds would swoop down and eat them. I would sometimes find a caterpillar with little white bags hanging on it. My dad taught me to leave these ones on the tomato plant. He said the white bags were insects that were feeding on the caterpillars and that if we left the ones with bags on the plants then the others would get infected. That didn’t let me off the hook from daily picking off the ones I could find and feeding the birds.

If you often have problems with these caterpillars on tomato plants, you can us insecticides to control them. Products containing B. t. or Bacillus thuingiensis will help control these and many other caterpillars, especially if it is sprayed when the caterpillars are small.

Many insects are not harmful in fact most insects have a positive affect such as pollination, decomposition or feeding on other insects. Be careful which insects you kill as they may be keeping pests from taking over the garden.