Forums
Search

Tomato worms- where do they come from?

Are they from the soil or eggs from a butterfly or bug.
I am picking them off and seem to be ahead of them so far.
 
Tamato or Tobacco horn( ) worms. Moth lays eggs. Very Hitchcuque-esk looking and a great example of Nature's design: Balance since the poor slob has it's own predators.

----
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/tomato1.html

Tomato hornworms are large (2 to 3 inch long when fully grown), green caterpillars with white stripes on the body. A horn protrudes from the top rear end of the worm. Tomato hornworms feed on the leaves and fruit. Several worms on one plant can quickly defoliate it and ruin developing fruit. Because their green coloring so closely resembles tomato foliage and stems, they are difficult to see. Handpick in cooler parts of the day or use suggested biological insecticides. If you see hornworms with small, white cocoons protruding, leave them alone. These structures are the pupae of parasitic insects that help control the hornworm population and the individual wearing them is already doomed.

----
also:

Tomato Horn Worms
http://www.supak.com/mort/insects.htm

The tomato horn worm is a worm about the size of a finger. It is so named because of a horn on its back end. It is usually first noticed by the damage to the tomato plants. Where a day before there was a branch of leaves there is now a skeleton of stems. They will also eat green tomatoes. They are big and they eat a lot. I have never found a small one or their eggs. They blend in so well on the plants that I usually have to take a fair amount of time spotting them. One of the clue that helps me most is the dark green balls of excrement. I'll spot these and then look around above the evidence.

I hand pick them. The horn can be scary even for an old bug-picker like myself. When you pull the worm off it whips around causing you to think you might be hurt. Not so, but still you might want to wear gloves or use pliers or something to do them in without grasping them with bare fingers. I'm generally too lazy to get gloves or pliers so I just steel myself for the task.

Bt (see cabbage worm) also works as a fine spray. Frankly, it is more work to get out the spray than to just seek out the culprit. I've got the spray in my refrigerator and seldom use it. The last time I used it on tomatoes was a year when I was very busy and had a lot of tomatoes growing. I would start trying to find them and then time would run out so I sprayed.

The moth of the tomato horn worm can be mistaken for a hummingbird. It is that big and it acts like a hummingbird too.

-----
also

http://www.msue.msu.edu/msue/imp/mod03/01701456.html
also lists info but sadly sees fit to recommend the use of Diazinon, Sevin on various "pests".

Hope that this helps, eh?

John
 
Like (0 likes)
One day you have a lush tomato plant, the next a big fat tomato "worm" is sitting there on a defoliated branch. They definately get transported there, instantaneously from outerspace. Those fat, green bodies, with huge poops are not of this earth. Those long horns...zapped here I say.
 
Like (0 likes)
Owl,

Encourage Catbirds and Cardinals into your garden. Trust me. You'll never see another hornworm again! I haven't since my catbirds and cardinals breed like wabbits in my garden. Hornworms are catbirds' and cardinals' favorite "HappyMeal" ............ w/double order of Japanese Beetle fries on the side! Big Grin

gardenz
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [i]"To Live Is Not Just To Survive, But To Thrive With Passion, Compassion, Humor & Style."[/i] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Blogs: [URL=http://www.lindafrank.blogspot.com] GardenzOwn [/URL] [URL=http://www.OurGardenEarth.blogspot.com]OurGardenEarth[/URL]
Like (0 likes)
I have a pair of Cardinals around every year but I have never tried to attract birds. What do you do to attract them?
 
Like (0 likes)
Personally, I wear something skimpy and flap my arms...



John
 
Like (0 likes)
Well John- Thanks to your great web sites I also realize I have the tomato fruit worm. I am getting about three horn worms a day( I go out to the garden with scissors in hand). By the way I saw a baby horn worm- looks just like the big ones but very tiny, even has the horn. I think maybe it is time for stronger action. This is the first year I have had a problem with them and they are only in one bed out of three. I have never used anything stronger than soapy water but I have waited to long for those tomatoes to loose them now. Thanks a bunch.
 
Like (0 likes)
Did you ever have someone tell you how to do something but didn't quite get it, and you said show me? I think this is one of those- could you send me a picture- I would love to see that.
 
Like (0 likes)
Now, Gracie.

It is not a pretty sight, what with my hairy legs and knobby knees and all. But the crows sure line up for the entertainment!

Smiler

John
 
Like (0 likes)
*wiping screen off* Thaaaaanks, John.

Out here in the West, a family of Jays have kept all the nasty bugs out of my garden. I first started noticing them when many of the bugs I hated last year were non-existant...then I suddenly woke up and started really appreciating them. I haven't had a hornworm all year, on 5x the tomatoes, where I had 7 last year on one measly plant!

I put out a birdbath, and make sure it's got lots of water for 'em. Little rocks in it help beneficial insects, and there are lots of places to perch around me. A bit of bread every now and then helps keep them happy, too.
 
Like (0 likes)
You know John, some times when I pop in during the lunch time to see what's being discussed here, I have the distinct feeling that you have created and programmed a posting review "creature" - I picture mini man jumping up and down and waving his arms - who does nothing but watch for any post that just seems to call out for a Johnish response and then interrupts you from whatever else you might have been doing. I am equally surprised and impressed when, occasionally, you let a juicy one go by "unpounced upon". There is almost a tension waiting to see how long you can hold back. Makes for interesting reading.

My drive this PM in almost 100 degree, non moving traffic, will be filled with thoughts of attracting birds and images of flapping appendages. How does one turn off visualization mode?????
 
Like (0 likes)
Ah Farmme, you have said it best, re John!
Now, since we are on the outspace trek, I will dare risk admitting this tidbit of what I think is good info: Ahem, ok, I read somewhere that if you take a black light out into the garden at night, you can find the tomato worms because they GLOW under a black light. I have never tried this myself, partly because I wanted to find a portable light (I have) and PARTLY because I am a little scared about even more horrible the things might look under a black light. I can't begin to figure out what color they would look. I do think it would be the thing of nightmares! The ONLY reason I risk posting this weird idea is that I truly believe I read this in Organic Gardening some years back. My only personal experience with glow-in-the-blacklight stuff is gin and tonic, which is an incredible, beautiful blue, even before you drink any of it!
I used to have glow in the dark pajamas about a million years ago (only someone else as old as me is going to know when that was), which brings forth a further mind-bending picture of John with an added dimension...glow in the dark skimpies? If Tomato worms are attracted to the sight, maybe he could hire out as a travelling worm remover.....

SJ
 
Like (0 likes)
Black light, Scrubjay? On my Bombay Saphire?? EGADS..

I remember only too well a variety of black light clothing as a wee tyke- batman pjs come to mind-Big Grin, plus at least a few black light "experiences" a bit later in college. But in my garden??

Or worse yet, on ecomandude glow in the dark skimpies? You can't mean those European - could it be Dutch- tiny little swim suit things??? PLEASE turn off the visuals.

This thread may have restored, at least for the moment,my sense of humor. Thanks
 
Like (0 likes)
What IS it with youse krazee Murikuns, jumping from hornyworms - the pest to speculating about the fluorescence of edible undies?

< this place is getting better all the time!>
Smiler
Smiler

John
 
Like (0 likes)
I think you started this one too John. What are we going to do with you? What would we do without you!
 
Like (0 likes)
Li'l ole MOI? Started it? HAH! I'm too busy writing a really nasty, depressing web page here for Renaissance.

Speaking of levity, what did your sister DO to ol'Rusty? Never known the man to be so demure...

Smiler
 
Like (0 likes)
Blacklights let you find scorpions! The creatures glow in the light. Certain minerals glow too. I don't know about tomato worms, but since they are enjoying my plants so much, maybe I need to get a blacklight type bulb for my flashlight (hello, anyone know where such things can be found? The bulbs that is. I know where the &*%$#%^^% fat, outerspace worms are hanging out).
 
Like (0 likes)
I guess I scared Rusty off, never heard another word from him after I told him about "sister Lolypop". However she is still lonesome if anyone is interested. Maybe I can get her to join the sight. You should see what she can do to a pair of pantyhose.
 
Like (0 likes)
It actually hurts when I snap my head up like that...

Smiler
 
Like (0 likes)
LOl :^O Hate to interrupt the flow, but I do have a helpful suggestion. If you plant those big yellow evening primroses, the tomato worms actually like them as well or better than tomatoes. You can spot them there and snip them before you notice them on the tomato plants.

Jazzie
 
Like (0 likes)
Thanks a whole lot for breaking the spell, Jazz.

Smiler
 
Like (0 likes)
The worms are the larva of various sphinx moths, look at the horn and pattern of stripes/spots on the sides and the green hue. I have found at least 7 different species on my tomatoes in the past. They all do the same damage.

I pick them off, put them in a bucket and throw them to the chickens who think they are a great treat. I usually can find several hundred a day from 300+ plants.

For some reason they do not bother me.

It is best to look for them either around dawn or at dusk as they are actively feeding than and will be out on the ends of branches and easy to find. During the day they hide (extremely well) in the foliage. You can find them though by looking for fresh frass (the fancy gardening way of saying worm poop) which is light green. the frass gets darker as it ages. These worms basically deposit frass continously as they eat. If you see frass look above the pile and you should see your worm.
 
Like (0 likes)
Thanks for getting me back on track Jazzie. I really have been reading all the helpful info everyone has been giving me, really I have.
 
Like (0 likes)
They all look alike to me- just plain ugly!!!
 
Like (0 likes)
Since we have no cardinals or catbirds in Western Colorado, does this mean I have to go back East and run all the way home in my skivvies flapping my arms? :^O I'll be the little old white haired lady in beige panties.

Jazzie
 
Like (0 likes)
Farmme, back when I drank gin and tonic in a blacklight environment, it sure was not Bombay Sapphire. And not being very sophisticated in the drinking department, when I did buy a bottle of that some years back, boy was I disappointed that the contents were not blue. Anyway, I think the tonic is actually what glows. You are doing better than me in the memory department on the jammies. I don't remember what mine were, but I think one of my sisters or my brother had Hopalong Cassidy. Hope it has cooled off some by now, it is what, almost 10PM in the land of pine and blueberries. If you ever get over to Freeport and drive out Mast Landing Road to South Freeport, you'll go right past my sisters house. Do you play racketball, or ahem, senior softball? SJ.
 
Like (0 likes)
OH GROAN!!!! I just told my husband that I have a new Scrabble word (frass), and his snappy rejoinder was that someone who talks a lot of cr*p must be a SASSAFRASS...I can tell what kind of day it is going to be here!
 
Like (0 likes)
Mulchy,
I have seen the blacklight bulbs for flashlights, but I have to do some thinking.. It may have been at Home Depot, Target, or more likely in a catalogue of some sort, like Brookstone, I just put my brain into search mode and hopefully we'll get a hit. BUT, it may be that I came up with this plan: I know I saw 6" long bulbs at Target, which I could put into the camp table type Coleman lantern that uses florescent bulbs. But ours is put away in the earthquake survival stuff, and I didn't want to break that open. Haven't got around to buying another one for the garden. I guess I didn't want to spend the money until I was gardening again. No garden, no tomato worms. I don't think the bubls were a permanently stocked item at Target, but if you have a Spencer's store, which I don't like to go into, you could probably stand a chance of getting one there. Anyway, hopefully I will find the gray cell with the right catalogue source on it and then I will pass that info on.
Scrubjay.
 
Like (0 likes)
"frass" is not in the dictionary. Not in my "scrabble dictionary" either, and the latter has a lot of words that you would not believe are words. Don't know where the term came from, but it's not in the english language dictionaries that I have.

And Scrubjay, thanks for the bulb info. I think I've seen little battery operated florescent ones somewhere too...
 
Like (0 likes)
This is good news. I have a bad habit of saying "oh sh*t" when I get mad, now I can say "oh frass" and not offend anyone.
 
Like (0 likes)
Mulchy, I think I'm going to let him find that out for himself anyway, which doesn't matter much because he stands very little chance of beating me at that game! However, he sure plays a piano alot better than me, and by ear at that. Also, he does math well, which I can't even remember how to multiply and divide fractions, and all I know about higher math is that it is supposed to be out there, somewhere! Once in frustration I told him I could not understand how he and our oldest son could play piano so well, by ear, and moi who had taken lessons pretty much can't play anything. He said "It's easy, music is just math" which says it all for me, I guess. Hope you find a light soon and have some results to report to us!
 
Like (0 likes)
If you like scrabble, you will love "upwords". If you don't already have one, please, go buy one (around $12). The game is waaaay better than scrabble, as you play with tiles, vertically and horizontally, so can make 3 or 4 words all at once as the game progresses. (I just beat my mom at it a little while ago). And if you don't own a "scrabble dictionary", that's a must too. Little paperback, with the most obscure words imaginable. We play, allowing everyone to use it, so we get some great words.

I'm in no hurry to get a blacklight. If I remember next time I drive to town, I'll keep my eyes open for one. But I have to put it on my list, and at the moment I'm too tired, just sitting here sipping my wine cooler and letting my fingers dance on the keyboard.... (spent all morning building a wooden fence so my pool has privacy).

Happy 4th.
 
Like (0 likes)
Wow...thanks for all that great info...I never knew this stuff!
 
Like (0 likes)
hehehe...cute one...hey, I have lots and lots of cardinals...perhaps that I why I've never seen one of these little aliens! :-)
 
Like (0 likes)
I have to "ditto" that!!!
 
Like (0 likes)
Thanks Mulchy, I'll try Upwords next payday. PS, I really would not cheat at Scrabble. Too bad frass isn't a real word. I have a Scrabble dictionary. Do you play Scrabble on the computer? I do but my program frustrates because it will not anagram the blank. You have to reanagram 26 times if you want to look for a seven letter word with the blank, and if you want to search for an add on to an existing word with the blank, forget it! I have not ventured into Scrabble online, but I hear it is out there!
 
Like (0 likes)
Hi scrubjay, you got scrub jays where you live? I live in the foothills and they love it here. Smiler

I gave up scrabble once I started upwords. It is much quicker, way more points, and trying to make 3 or 4 word changes all at once while only adding a couple letters is soooo much fun. And no, I never tried any on line games. It seems so weird to me to be playing with unknown people...whereas chitchatting here, I kinda get to know folks, and I like that.
 
Like (0 likes)
Owl, if you just look for the dark droppings on a leaf and look up you'll find them, what goes in must come out!! And a big pair of boots will stomp them into hornworm heaven. And frass is a great word! In the Randomhouse Unabridged its origins 1850-1855 , from fressen, to eat (of animals) and Fress, to eat or snack often and in large quantities.
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
Like (0 likes)
*LOL* Your husband is a clever guy!
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
Like (0 likes)
Sweetpea, thanks for the word update. I took 2 1/2 years of German, so I should have figured that out.

Mulchy, yes I have scrub jays, which I used to call bluejays until my son the genius straightened me out. I more than love them, I/we have a personal relationship with a scrub family, which to the best of our knowledge we have helped raise two generations of, or else two sets of siblings. During the care assist, which we did in a large box on the patio, the parents became so tame and comfy they would come in the back hallway and chat with me when I was in the kitchen. Last year they did also, even though we had rebuilt the house and had a new back hall, and when they wanted more grubs for the little guys they would come to the door and yell at us. This year either they lost all the young, or succeeded in getting them grown. We have a serious assault team of large crows around here. We also have a huge flock of wild parrots. Talk about noisy!!! And in Arcadia due north 3 miles, there is a roving population of peacocks that mainly reside in the LA County Arboretum. The local gendarmes used to get in trouble for going near the "calling" peacocks in the middle of the night and keying their loudspeaker mikes. Heh heh...keeps ya from going crazy on that job, I guess! Well, me and the hubby are going to the depot store to get some fixit stuff, as we bought a new fridge but had to move some cabinets and counters etc to allow the door to swing open, so I am basically getting a great kitchen remodel, which we did not do when we rebuilt the rest of the house. Poor me! First new refrigerator in my life! No I'm not complaining about all the generous hand-me-downs we have had, and that I had when I was a poor starving spinster all on my own. Bye, Scrubjay
 
Like (0 likes)
 
Post Reply
 
 
 


OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image
OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image OGFooter image