Hornworms might be attacking your tomatoes, and you are wondering where does tomato hornworm come from?
Tomato hornworms are green devouring caterpillars that can cause serious harm to your tomatoes if not controlled on time. This is why we have put together this informative article to inform you where this tomato hornworm comes from. We will also guide you on ways to control these worms.
Get To Know Where Tomato Hornworm Come From
Tomato hornworm comes from eggs that are laid by large mottled gray-brownish moths. These moths lay their eggs on their host plant (tomato) during summer. Tomato hornworm pupae thrive during winter and surface as brown moths during spring.
Hornworms are one of the largest caterpillars known. Once these moths lay their eggs, the caterpillar will hatch out of the eggs. They will begin to feed until they increase in length of up to 4 inches.
Afterward, the caterpillar moves into the soil where it turns into its pupa stage.
Sign of Hornworm Infestation
The first sign of hornworm infestation is when you notice the stems of your tomato plants are leafless. The awful part is that hornworms won’t just feed on patches of your tomato leaves. They have the ability to devour your whole leaves in just a night.
Tomato hornworms begin by feeding on the upper part of your plant leaves. After consuming your tomato leaves, they can proceed to feed on your flowers and fruits.
As they mature and grow bigger, the damage they cause to your tomato leaves increases.
The tomato hornworms have the ability to camouflage with their green appearance. Therefore, you might not spot them on time until they have done their harm. You can catch them doing their notorious operations when the sunsets (in the dark).
How To Get Rid Of Tomato Hornworms
Here are the elimination methods of tomato hornworm:
- Hand-picking and drowning: handpicking and drowning them in a bucket of water is the most effective and safe way of eliminating these worms.
- Natural predators: some natural predators can be introduced in eliminating these tomato hornworms. Examples of these natural predators are green lacewings and ladybugs. These predatory insects will feed on the eggs and young caterpillars of the moths.
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt): introducing bacillus thuringiensis into your soil can also help eliminate tomato hornworm. Hornworm caterpillars will need to feed on this Bt to be effective.
- Nonsystematic insecticides: nonsystematic insecticides are also effective in killing tomato hornworms. The plant will not absorb the insecticides, they will only stay on the surface where these worms will be killed when they come in contact with it.
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To ensure you protect your tomato plant from hornworms do the following:
- Always inspect your tomato plants for hornworms during summer.
- If you see any worms on your plant, pick them or hose them away and kill them by putting them inside soapy water.
- Ensure to always till the soil after harvest and also in early spring to destroy any burrowing larvae and caterpillars.
Hornworms are not only seen in tomatoes. They can also be found on pepper, eggplant, and potato.