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Royiah
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Pests in garden! help please!

So I woke up this morning and half my tomatos had bee eaten by these weird looking caterpillers. And I found out they are some type of moth too. Well anyways there were three huge ones and a couple of small ones. I picked them off and squashed them. this is the third time this week I had these guys on my tomatos and I have no idea what to do now.
Any suggestions? :?:

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rainbowgardener
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You are talking about these guys?

[img]https://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/images/M1224-3-lg.jpg[/img]

tomato hornworm. (Or there's a related tobacco hornworm that looks similar, but not identical, that also hangs out on tomatoes)

Common pest of tomatoes. They can be difficult to spot because they blend in so well, but once you get used to looking for them, they are big and not so hard to find. They don't move much and just sit there and let you grab them (something that relies on camouflage for defense is used to just holding still). So hand picking is the best defense. Just keep checking daily and picking them off.

If you see any that look like this:

[img]https://user.pa.net/~nhawlman/Grapevine/TomatoWormEggsRxBC-245.jpg[/img]

Leave them alone. They have already been parasitized by little wasps and will die. And you want all the new little wasps to hatch out.
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Royiah
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Ah thats it! looks just like them. Thanks for the info.
And um wasps... I'm not sure if I want a nest of wasps in my yard let alone my garden... :/ I'm kinda allergic. I havent seen any like that so far but I have no idea what I'll do if I find one. :?

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rainbowgardener
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no, no.... these are teeny little wasps, called braconids. They are less than half an inch long and you will likely never see them in your garden and they definitely will not bother you. They will just take care of your hornworms for you.

They don't even make nests. If I have the story all straight (applestar can probably correct me if not), the wasps lay their eggs inside the eggs of the hornworm moth. So then the wasp larvae hatch out already inside the hornworm caterpillar and start eating it from the inside out. By the time they make all those cocoons on the outside of it, it is already mostly dead. The wasp adults emerge from the cocoon to mate and start the process over.
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tomc
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Royiah wrote:Ah thats it! looks just like them. Thanks for the info.
And um wasps... I'm not sure if I want a nest of wasps in my yard let alone my garden... :/ I'm kinda allergic. I havent seen any like that so far but I have no idea what I'll do if I find one. :?
These wasps are unlikely to sting (I'm not sure they can). They are very small.
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Royiah
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Oh if thats the case then I'm sure to leave the little buggers! :D
And if they kill the other worms then thats even better! Thanks for that ya'll! :wink:

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Francis Barnswallow
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How long does it take the parasitic wasps to kill the hornworm?

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gixxerific
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Francis Barnswallow wrote:How long does it take the parasitic wasps to kill the hornworm?
They do not sting they are good. They take roughly a week give or take but shorter than longer. The hormwrom can still eat you plants in the early stages. So maybe removing it to a safe location, not too far away so the wasps don't get lost 8) is a good idea. I leave them be it's all part of nature.

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-04_braconid_wasp_on_hornworm.htm

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, I LOVE those little braconids... I never see them, but they seem to be always there invisibly doing their jobs. The only hornworms I find are already parasitized.
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