This beast, hanging out underneath the leaves, is the manduca quinquemaculata, which, as a caterpillar, is the tomato-tobacco hornworm. No tabacco here, so they just have to eat my tomatoes. They turn into this, the five-spotted hawk moth:
“Hawk moth.” That’s rather a compliment. I call it a turd moth.
I’m still enjoying gardening. Finding out even about turd moths is a welcome break from the mayhem of the day, and here, in the drug capital of WNC, from the mayhem of the night as well. Still, I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of them.
“Instead of them…” That didn’t sound right. I meant I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of the horn worms eating the tomatoes. I didn’t mean that I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of me eating the horn worms. But there is some discussion of massive huge worms being an alternative source of protein. Just. No. Can’t do it. Even if it was all scientifically proven to be “good for you.” That would be like eating a… turd.
7 responses to “Organic gardening: Now it’s horn worms on my tomatoes with a zillion eggs”
Trouble. Try to remove and destroy as you can. Maybe a bowl of soapy water nearby will get some moths?
There’s gotta be some analogy about being called a Turd Moth or by the given name, Hawk Moth. (ha) Also, fyi, those eggs on the catapillar are of a kind of wasp, whose eggs feed on the poor little (ugh) catapillar.
Oh come on George, you survived the Sally Army on Suddery St in Calcutta, you can handle a maggoty horn worn soup!
Fair enough 😄
I had to smile, Father, when you identified the bugs as protein. My mind went back to when I was a child living on the edge of the Royal National Park. That natural bushland is on the other side of Port Hacking River which in those days separated the few residents there from Sydney’s southern suburban sprawl. There was electricity but Sydney’s water supply was not yet piped in and therefore all of our water came by way of rainwater that ran off from the house roof into large galvanised steel tanks. Those tanks presumably had a covering yet mosquitos still managed to get in to breed during the warmer months, and although the water coming into the kitchen was filtered through a wire strainer before being used for drinking or cooking, mosquito larvae (we called them “wrigglers”) would nonetheless sometimes be seen writhing in one’s glass of drinking water. My Father would make light of the wrigglers off-putting presence, telling me not to worry. “It’s just another source of protein”, he would say.
John said those are a predator wasp and once they get on the horn worm he will not do another thing. He will not move or eat or anything.