kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Horn worms

Well I found my first horn worm today...And my second...and my third...and my fourth...and my fifth...and my sixth! (they are currently floating in a bucket of soapy water) I have known for a few days that they were there but couldn't find them.

Will the battle ever end? They are SO hard to spot! I would gladly share my fruit...if they weren't so darned damaging to the plants!

MaryDel
Senior Member
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Delaware

I picked about 15 from my plants today, most of which had wasp eggs on them. I squished 3, and moved the ones with wasp eggs off into my asparagus patch. This is the worst I've seen them in 9 years.

Nick D
Full Member
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:08 am
Location: 7b, nw ga

I've got several friends who have been fighting these guys all season. I've pulled four myself in the last couple days; they also took a bath.

Two of them were in my tomatoes, and two others were manning the peppers. One of my jalapenos got picked clean, and a couple sweet banana plants each lost a couple leaves.

I didn't realize how big they got...the biggest was as long and wide as my index finger!


Good news is all the plants are still alive and well, even the jalapeno (which was by far my smallest pepper plant anyway, about a foot shorter than everyone else for whatever reason); he's already covered in new leaf growth just 3 days after I found the responsible party. I haven't seen any others yet, and hadn't had any (visible) trouble from them until last week. The bad news is none of them had hitchhikers, either, so I'm remaining on guard.
Nick
Zone 7b, NW Ga.

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Them little buggers didn't get my tomatoes last year but they did totally decimate my jalapenos in just a day or two.

I don't think I have seen any as of yet this year. But I did find roughly a dozen small cat's on a tomato the other day they are in a better place now. I'm not sure what they were.

User avatar
engineeredgarden
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: NW Alabama

I have 34 tomato plants, and haven't found the first hornworm on them. Why? because I locate most of the eggs before they hatch, and also spray BT weekly...

EG

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

engineeredgarden wrote:I have 34 tomato plants, and haven't found the first hornworm on them. Why? because I locate most of the eggs before they hatch, and also spray BT weekly...

EG
What do the hornworm eggs look like ?

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

engineeredgarden wrote:I have 34 tomato plants, and haven't found the first hornworm on them. Why? because I locate most of the eggs before they hatch, and also spray BT weekly...

EG
There's a downside to everything... the more we spray Bt, the more likely it is we will be breeding Bt resistant bugs.

"There are insects in the wild now that contain gene variants that allow them to be resistant to Bt toxins, but fortunately they are small in number," says Raffi V. Aroian, an assistant professor of biology at UCSD who headed the study. "However, as more crops with Bt genes are planted, it's only a matter of time before populations of Bt-resistant insects grow numerous enough to become economically troublesome to farmers hoping to control these insects." https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/3465

Already populations of bollworms, diamondback moths, and European corn borers are known to have Bt resistance ... and probably others not documented yet.

Less is more! Don't use it any more than you absolutely have to. If you are locating the eggs and getting rid of them, that probably already gives you pretty good control over your worm population.

It helps to prevent resistance spreading in the population if you save a sacrificial plant or two unsprayed. That gives a safe harbor to the non-resistant individuals in the population, reducing the genetic advantage conferred by resistance.

If you hope for the Bt to continue to be effective, that is....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

I found my first hornworm a few weeks ago. It must have been a juvenile as it resembled an inchworm, but it did have its first "horn."


I've only noticed hornworm damage on one plant so far. Hopefully, that's the only one.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
engineeredgarden
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: NW Alabama

farmerlon - here's a photo I took of one last year...

[img]https://i36.tinypic.com/293kgma.jpg[/img]

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

engineeredgarden wrote:farmerlon - here's a photo I took of one last year...
Great photo! ... that's the way to teach. Super info... thanks! :D

I have a hard time spotting the green hornworms on the tomato plants, so I'm not sure if I will ever see one of those green eggs. But, if I do, now I will know what it is.

Next year, I am going to plant some "trap crops" of Dill around my tomato plants. The Dill seems to lure the hornworms away from the tomatoes, and I can spot those buggers easily on the Dill.

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Thirteen today!

But on the bright side I only found 2 tomatoes that were partially eaten!

Plant dill next to tomatoes....check!

User avatar
engineeredgarden
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: NW Alabama

farmerlon - you're welcome. I have thousands of photos of things from the garden, so just had to dig it up...

EG

MikeP09
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:09 pm
Location: Somerville, NJ

I don't know whether to be happy or not. This is my first garden this year and never knew what a hornworm was and actually saw one yesterday! I thought nothing of it and just plucked him off. So after I read this thread I went back out to the garden and spotted 2 more but these were covered with wasp eggs. I was told to leave them alone so I did, but I could kick myself for not killing the one I saw yesterday!
How many wasp egg infested worms should I let live? They already tore up a couple branches on one side.

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

My guess is let as many infested ones as you find live and let nature take it's course...They won't be alive much longer and you will have nature taking care of the problem for you!

Unfortunately all of the ones I have found have been healthy...at least until they took a little swim in what we fondly call...the bucket of death!

I only found 2 today. I am hoping this is a good thing. I read somewhere that the average is .5 horn worms per tomato plant. I am already over this and hoping that I am winning the war!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yeah, the ones with the wasp eggs will not be causing damage much longer. The one I saw like that at the CSA farm was already looking kind of paralyzed.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

MikeP09
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:09 pm
Location: Somerville, NJ

Yeah I'm learning,,, I went out to the garden this morning and found 3 more horn worms that were covered and not moving.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

What you see on the caterpillars backs are pupae ("cocoons" -- is this term only applicable to Lepidoptera? ... what am I saying -- only to MOTHS and not other insects?). As you can see by the photos in [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=94346#94346]this thread[/url], by this time, the parasitic predator wasp larvae have been eating the caterpillar from inside out. So, no, it's not all that hungry any more....

I found another one covered by the wasp pupae yesterday.
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7854.jpg[/img]
Last edited by applestar on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MaryDel
Senior Member
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Delaware

MikeP09 wrote:I don't know whether to be happy or not. This is my first garden this year and never knew what a hornworm was and actually saw one yesterday! I thought nothing of it and just plucked him off. So after I read this thread I went back out to the garden and spotted 2 more but these were covered with wasp eggs. I was told to leave them alone so I did, but I could kick myself for not killing the one I saw yesterday!
How many wasp egg infested worms should I let live? They already tore up a couple branches on one side.

Just pick a small branch off with the infested worm on it and move it to a different portion of your property.

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

I think my low hornworm population could be due to my regular culling of dead leaves.

They probably lay the eggs on the good leaves, the early blight, septoria, etc. makes the leaves turn brown, then I rip 'em off and dispose of them....along with the unfortunate HW eggs.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

jmoore
Senior Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Dallas, TX

My potato plant got decimated overnight Sunday by a hornworm. Sunday evening it was fine, yesterday afternoon there were no leaves. This morning I checked my peppers and there was ANOTHER one starting on my cowhorn plant. I promptly dispatched of that guy. I need to spray tonight. With the heat stressing everything terribly this year, I can't afford to lose anything else.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I leave the wasp pupae covered ones exactly where I found them. Like I said, they're not going to eat much -- if at all -- any more. The wasps will be emerging soon and what they'll do is what they all do -- mate and look for more hornworms to lay eggs on. :twisted:

-- New generation Garden Patrol, ready for duty! :-()

jmoore
Senior Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Dallas, TX

applestar wrote:I leave the wasp pupae covered ones exactly where I found them. Like I said, they're not going to eat much -- if at all -- any more. The wasps will be emerging soon and what they'll do is what they all do -- mate and look for more hornworms to lay eggs on. :twisted:

-- New generation Garden Patrol, ready for duty! :-()
Good info. The ones I found were clean. So away they went.

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

applestar wrote:I leave the wasp pupae covered ones exactly where I found them. Like I said, they're not going to eat much -- if at all -- any more. The wasps will be emerging soon and what they'll do is what they all do -- mate and look for more hornworms to lay eggs on. :twisted:

-- New generation Garden Patrol, ready for duty! :-()
Thanks for letting me know about that one. If I had seen something like that in the garden, I'd of squished it flat :shock:. Biological pest control is great.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

God bless the hornworm for being so kind as to "bus" around all these passengers. :lol:

Just found this guy this morning and it made me happy, I will leave it and all will be good.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/Gardening/DSC04080.jpg[/img]

I was out spraying a milk solution and never would have seen this if not for it happy little "passengers". :wink:

kgall
Senior Member
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:37 pm
Location: New Hampshire

I prefer to stick them in a bucket of soapy water...Fondly referred to as 'the bucket of death'. I accidentally squished one with my garden shears and there was green slime EVERYWHERE! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

kgall wrote:I prefer to stick them in a bucket of soapy water...Fondly referred to as 'the bucket of death'. I accidentally squished one with my garden shears and there was green slime EVERYWHERE! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!
You may have missed my previous thread but I believe the more proper terminology is "giving them a bath". :wink: :P

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I found hornworms, and removed them all, I thought.
But, I went ahead and sprayed with Bt, I don't have any predators that eat them.
And today, I have proof...Bt does work even on large hornworms, contrary to what I have been told:

[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2877_phixr.jpg[/img]

Not a fluke, cause I found another one:

[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2878_phixr.jpg[/img]

I found some live ones in the forest garden, so it got sprayed today.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Ah. That's the way the Monarch caterpillars we're raising inside sometimes die. They turn brown, then black overnight. We lost 3 so far to the "Brown Death" and 1 was parasitized by tachnid fly larvae. We currently have 27 chrysalises. :()

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

gixxerific wrote:
kgall wrote:I prefer to stick them in a bucket of soapy water...Fondly referred to as 'the bucket of death'. I accidentally squished one with my garden shears and there was green slime EVERYWHERE! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!
You may have missed my previous thread but I believe the more proper terminology is "giving them a bath". :wink: :P

Yeah, it makes us gardeners sound less menacing :lol:.

Apps, you can raise caterpillars indoors to become butterflies? That's pretty cool.

OL, looks like the Bt is doing the trick for ya.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

jmoore
Senior Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Dallas, TX

garden5 wrote: Yeah, it makes us gardeners sound less menacing :lol:.
I know when I think of the word menacing, the first thing that comes to mind is "gardeners" :twisted: :D

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Here is that same hornworm from Aug. 15 pictured above. As you can see, it has not moved... much. It did move a little bit so it's still alive. The wasp pupae have not opened up. Slow death for the poor creature to be sure....
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7917.jpg[/img]

Elsewhere in the garden, I found an apparently healthy hornworm. You can clearly see the tell-tale (:P) red tail :lol: of the Tobacco Hornworm:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7907.jpg[/img]
My 8 yr old wants to see the moth it turns into so this one is a guest of the house and is in its own container in the Monarch Butterfly raising area. I have plenty of extra tomato vines that can be pruned so this won't be a problem. I'll have to make a decision once it ecloses and metamorphoses into a moth.... :|

I was unable to find the culprit that did this :evil:
One of my black peppers (can't remember if it's Royal Black or Czech Black), completely defoliated and peppers munched:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7909.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7912.jpg[/img]
I hope it's a Royal Black, which is supposed to be super hot :twisted: I would be really upset if this was my only one, but I have more than enough hot peppers this year :()

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

If I remember right Apple the hornworm turns into a very ugly moth and pretty big as well.

Also I would say that looks like hornworm damage on your peppers. Remember last year I found the one that had total defoliated my jalapeno in just a day or two. That damage looked the same.

[img]https://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj185/gixxerific/DSC02581.jpg[/img]

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

You didn't find anything?
Go out, just at twilight, when you can still see.
Follow the stem down. There is a cutworm that lives in the ground, and it sneaks out at night, does the damage, and goes back below ground before daylight.
Or just spray it with Bt, he will return!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27919
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I'm pretty sure this is a work of a hornworm as well. I looked everywhere and found a pile of poop. Normally, I would look above the deposit, and there the caterpillar would be. But that would've been the top of this devoured pepper plant and it's not there. :?

This is what I get for catching some kind of a virus and running a temperature for a couple of days -- and not doing much more than make quick runs out to the garden to pluck obviously ripe tomatoes or collect milkweed to feed the caterpillars. I haven't been all that attentive to this particular section of the garden either, obviously. :roll:

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

This made me think to go check out my little guy.

I found another small one right next to the original. So I started looking around and found 2 more on the plant right next the the other. All in the same condition. So I did check my other plants but not very hard seeing as the troops are on their way and have obviously been here for while.

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I'm sorry, Apple, I hope that you are feeling better.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

I found one more hornworm on a tomato plant, but it was in the same condition, with the white pupae all over. So far the braconid wasps are 100% effective! And on the first one I saw, the white things have gone from being little ovals to being little tubes open on the outer end, so I take it a whole new generation of little wasps has hatched out to terrorize the hornworms (AND aphids and other bad guys!). Gotta love it!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
engineeredgarden
Green Thumb
Posts: 426
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:51 pm
Location: NW Alabama

gixx - the Hawk moth is actually quite beautiful, and I generally come face to face with one in the garden each year. Just last week, I watched one depositing eggs on the undersides of tomato leaves. When you shine a flashlight on them, their eyes really glow....

EG

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

rainbowgardener wrote:I found one more hornworm on a tomato plant, but it was in the same condition, with the white pupae all over. So far the braconid wasps are 100% effective! And on the first one I saw, the white things have gone from being little ovals to being little tubes open on the outer end, so I take it a whole new generation of little wasps has hatched out to terrorize the hornworms (AND aphids and other bad guys!). Gotta love it!
RG, did you release these wasps or were they naturally in the area.

About the peppers: I thought that some type of insect may have been at fault for the defoliation....until I saw the hoof-print! Oh well, I guess I'm sharing with the deer this season :lol:.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

C00KiE46
Senior Member
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:50 pm
Location: Southern California

Ewww I don't know what I would do if I would see one of those in my garden. Do we get those in southern CA? :?

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”