Tomato Plant Pest Hornworm - 3 Tips to get Rid of Tomato Plant Pests
Getting rid of Hornworms
If your like me and you were looking forward to a good crop of tomato’s this year but kept finding holes in your tomatoes and leaves chewed to pieces I have a few tips that help you deal with the dreaded hornworms that are terrorizing your tomato plants.
The hornworm is a large green caterpillar looking thing and is capable of destroying your entire tomato plant in a matter of days and those little guys can grow to be as fat as your fingers and I’ve seen some as long as 5 to 6 cm’s long.
The hornworms are the larvae of a moth, so eventually when they have eaten enough will cocoon up and turn into moths. I believe hornworms are also known as tobacco hornworms aswell.
Tip #1 The manual method – involves quite tiresome work searching around for your plant to find those pesky little guys. The best way to find them is to look for a fresh pile of hornworm poo and look above it and they should be sitting there smiling.
This method is alright as I’ve tried it but because hornworms blend in so well with the tomato plant its hard work on your eyes trying to pick them off one by one.
Tip #2 The next method is using a product called Dipel, Which is a natural caterpillar killer and is also organic so it will not hurt surrounding animals or fish. You simply spray dipel onto the leaves of your tomato plant and after the hornworms digest it. When the worms digest dipel they will cease feeding almost immediately and die within one to four days.
Have tried dipel and works well only problem is when it rains it gets washed off and you do need to add quite a generous amount to the leaves for it to work effectively and this is also tiresome work.
Tip # 3 A good old fashioned home remedy for hornworms is to sprinkle some flour onto the leaves of your tomato plant. Supposedly the worms will ingest the flour and it will expand in there stomach’s killing them.
For me this didn’t work so well and I ended up making a smooth flour paste to put onto the leaves as the flour just kept getting blown off.
Last Tip # By now you’re getting pretty sick of the hornworms but don’t fear if all the tips above did not work nature will take its course. You should start seeing some wasps flying around and as they are the natural predators of the hornworm its great news for you.
There are many different types of wasps but I have actually witnessed wasps taking away those little pests just this morning in fact, was a very pleasant site. Some wasps are also known to lay eggs inside the hornworm and as the eggs hatch the hornworm will be eaten alive (nasty). So remember if you see a wasp nest or wasp hole in the ground please don't cover it up for the sake of your tomatoes.
So that’s it for hornworm pest control, good luck and I hope this year is a good harvest. Happy gardening