Who ate the tomatoes?

Who Ate the Tomatoes? - Horn Worm

We checked on our garden this morning looking forward to checking on the progress of our ever increasing vegetable crop only to find, ughhhhh!!!! there is a monster lurking in our midst! What on earth defoliated some of the tomatoes?? Big chunks have been eaten out of the green fruit! We looked and looked and couldn’t see it, until literally coming face to face with it.

Major freak out moment as you can imagine! What is that thing? In all our past endeavors with gardening, we had been spared such an encounter. It turns out our garden is being invaded by tomato hornworms. Who let them in? I would really like to know. After calming down a bit, we carefully clipped off all the leaves with worms on them, and disposed of them. We found about eight of them, so far. . . lets hope that’s it.

The only thing even closely resembling the worms that we had ever seen was Absalom the smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. Bring back any memories?

Who Ate the Tomatoes?

Naturally we did a little research, only to discover that this particular caterpillar eventually becomes a hummingbird moth, which we have seen around here quite often in the early Fall. They are actually quite unusual in appearance if you have ever seen one, and just like in their caterpillar stage, are quite large. The sound their wings make as they hover near a flower is reminiscent of a hummingbird, and they also rival them in size.

Who Ate the Tomatoes? - Hummingbird Moth

The Tomato Hornworm, as well as its cousin the Tobacco Hornworm, seems to be a very common problem across most of the country. As you can see from this short video clip we found. There were no really easy solutions for how to get rid of the worms if you don’t want to use chemicals, short of simply removing all the ones you can find from the plants, which we did. If this subject interests you, or you are dealing with the same pests, Colorado State University has an interesting article, which you can find here.

And just in case you are wondering, our next post will offer the gift of a gluten free recipe, we promise. So stay tuned.

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