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madonnaswimmer
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HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Went away for 5 days at a conference. Came back to find that the beautiful perennials (don't know what they are but they had gorgeous yellow flowers) that surrounded our garden were completely decimated by this worm. They were ALL OVER the plants, as seen below.
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DEVASTATED to see that these worms are now on the corn and on the tomatoes, although I haven't seen any damage done yet.
Here on the corn:
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I also see this other worm, only on the tomatoes... looks like it might be related, as it's the same size as the others, but it is entirely white instead of having a grayish hue.
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(The brown/black dots on its back are just soil)
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Here's some good close-ups:
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What is this? Doesn't look like a hornworm or like a corn earworm... is it a cutworm? What is it? And how do I kill it before if decimates my veggies?!

imafan26
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

I don't know what kind of caterpillar it is but Bt should work.
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Dillbert
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

it's actually rather crucial to know what flower they "decimated"

most insects have extremely strong preferences to specific plants.
if the caterpillars are on the corn and not already munching it to death, likely is: they don't care for it.

it could be a boo-itful butterfly in caterpillar stage.....
could be something else.

"kill every insect in the garden" - ah,,, not especially recommended, but can be done.

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madonnaswimmer
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Dillbert wrote:it's actually rather crucial to know what flower they "decimated"
I know... and unfortunately there isn't a single plant left standing for me to photograph it and get some help. We just moved into the home in December, so we have no idea what most of our plants are.

I have one photo of my garden where they are in the background-- here it is. They are the bushy plants in the background, with the yellow flowers. I doubt this can help anyone ID it, but figured it was worth a try. A long-shot, I know.
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imafan26 wrote:"kill every insect in the garden" - ah,,, not especially recommended, but can be done.
Yeah... well when you see an entire population of plant (about 80 square feet of it, altogether) die in less than 5 days, and can easily tell the worm responsible.... and then you see those worms on your tomatoes you've been nursing from seed since April? I think it's reasonable to take action, don't you?

imafan26 wrote:I don't know what kind of caterpillar it is but Bt should work.
By BT, you mean Safer Brand's caterpillar killer? Bacillus thurigensis? Honestly, the last Safer product I used worked for crap, so I don't know how much I trust that brand.

I went to our local gardening store last night and they sold me Bonide Caterpillar Killer (Lambda-Cyhalothrin). Worked well to kill the ones on the perennials. I would have liked to avoid harsh chemicals, but I was in a bit of a panic. At that point, saving the tomatoes from utter destruction took priority over trying to stay halfway organic. :(

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applestar
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Looks like yellow Baptisia to me. What do you think?
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Susan W
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Ooh, that many worms becomes creepy! Along with the Bt suggestion and what you used, check the Pyrethren sprays.

The yellow blooms are (were) so lovely! I'm not going with Baptisia. I have the blue, false indigo Baptisia, and the leaves are roundish. It's one of the legumes, and leaves distinct in that. Not to hijack this worm thread....I had a scarce few blooms on mine this spring, and NO seed pods! Last year was overloaded with them.
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Gary350
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

I use to see those worms when I lived in Illinois. They look like what we use to call silk worms because 1000s of them would get on a plant and cover the entire plant with a silk like spider web stuff and eat up the entire plant.

We did not have them in TN, don't have them in AZ either. My Grandfather used Sevin dust it got rid of them in Illinois. I don't like putting toxic stuff on my garden but Sevin dust washes off.

imafan26
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Be careful when you buy Bt. One is for caterpillars but there is another Bt (different species) for mosquitoes. They are not interchangeable. Bt must be applied at the right time and does not last very long in the environment.
https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/GM/PDF/GMquestions.pdf

Since you had the caterpillars on corn and tomatoes it might be corn ear worm (on corn) and tomato fruit worm on the tomatoes.

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/ ... rworm.aspx
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ReptileAddiction
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

They look to me like geranium budworms. I have those in my garden and have had them horrible this year and I found that spinosad does a great job and it is organic. They will be different colors depending on what they have been eating. I have green ones, purple ones, yellow ones, etc but they are all the same thing and spinosad takes care of all of them. I get them the worst on petunias which I do spray but on tomatos and cosmos and most other things I control them by hand. I found that just getting in and deadheading helps to reduce them. Good luck!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: HELP!!! What is this worm and how do I kill it?!?!?

Yes, last year I had a problem with the budworms on my petunias. For awhile all the blooms were getting all chewed up and no seeds were being set - the seed pods were all hollowed out. After I realized what it was, I started coming out in the evening and picking them off (and stomping on them). But cutting all the flowers off and trashing them (not in compost) really helped get it under control. I did get rid of them and they have not (so far?) come back this year.
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